Egregious acts and unethical practices have happened in schools since they first began.

Not too long ago, the news was filled with stories and commentary on Paris Hilton's YouTube documentary where she opened up about her time in the troubled teen industry.

In Canada, the Indigenous community is bringing home the lost native children that were discovered in unmarked graves in former residential schools. The same reckoning began in the U.S. in 2016.

Though we may not be seeing these extreme examples of unethical actions in public schools today, there are still grievances among our youth. We went to AskReddit to hear about the things we force our students to bear.

Redditor hugscar asked:

"What are unethical practices schools do?"

Some of these will shock you.

Zero tolerance policies.

"Bullied and harassed students having the same repercussions as their bully for defending themselves."

- novato1995

"Yup. All it does is enforce the idea of 'I'm gonna get suspended anyway. May as well make it worth it.'"

"It does the exact opposite of what it's intended."

- ShawshankException

"No, it does what it intends: Shields the school from any liability. They don't have to judge anyone's precious."

- Banzai51

"I remember when the zero tolerance policy started being applied to both/all parties, a behaviorist predicted an upswing of violence, plus an increase in violent intensity (from slaps to punches; from punches to stabbings; from stabbings to shootings)."

"If I am remembering right, that prediction is being found accurate."

- liquidarc

"I remember reading a story here on Reddit about a guy whose laid-back classmate was getting bullied."

"One of his bullies threw punches. The kid threw the bully through a window and broke the bully's wrist. They got the same punishment. The kid wasn't bullied after that."

"Apparently 'I'm getting punished anyway, might as well go rabid bear so this doesn't happen again' is a thing, if the story is to be believed."

- WatcherOfStarryAbyss

A lack of consequences.

"I had a bully in middle school grab and twist my thumb hard enough to snap tendon (or whatever is in your thumb. It's been a while) and nothing happened to him since he would have to sit out football if he was punished."

- TheLaughingSage

"He would have to sit out middle school football? Wow."


"Small (but very rich) farming town that didn't have much else going on. Sports were a very big deal and we were just the poor family that moved in and weren't part of their circles."

- TheLaughingSage

Chained fire escapes.

"Our assembly room/gymnasium had the fire escape doors chained shut, and the police department was aware of it."

- snarlyelder

"Call the fire department next time. They'll burn that sh*t down themselves! Figuratively, of course."

- Comrade_NB

"One of the few people you don't want to f*ck with is the Fire Marshal."

- Aperture_Kubi

Required textbooks.

"Requiring you to purchase textbooks brand new from the college's bookstore because that's the only way to get the access code to complete the required assignments on the publishers website."

- austininlaw

"Even better: Let the professor write the book for the course. They change one stupid thing each year so they know if you get an older edition. Plus they're getting paid to teach the course and 'write' the book each year."

- ljb2x

Limiting access to water.

"Less severe but limiting kids access to water, I.e. you can’t have your drink bottle at the table. Which sucks when you live in Australia and at summer the temperature gets up to 36c and school is during all the hottest hours of the day."

- TeamLarge7729

"When I was in elementary school you could only have water at lunch if you had a lactose allergy. Other then that you where forced to only drink milk."

- ProfessionalDesk7741

"The dairy lobby."

- AMillionLittleFarts

A "told you so" moment.

"I was a decently misbehaved third grader. Told my teacher I had a stomach ache and I needed to go to the nurse. I asked a number of times. She thought I was just trying to get out of individual reading time. My appendix burst on the bus ride home."

"I was never one to ask to go to the nurse. Just a hyperactive kid my teacher apparently had enough of. Denying medical attention to an 8 year old seems unethical. This is not a 'boy who cried wolf' story for all those saying 'I told ya so.'"

- jurassicgrif

"Something similar happened when I was in second grade! The kid sitting next to me on the rug kept interrupting reading time to ask to go to the nurse because his stomach hurt. The teacher kept getting more and more irritated and kept telling him no. Then he leaned over and puked on me. Thanks, teacher."

- almost_queen

"Not allowing kids to use the restroom. As someone who was diagnosed with multiple reproductive issues at an early age, I had some pretty intense periods. And this rule made school even worse. Got the nickname “Paint Bottle” because my school was infamous for denying the bathroom (they were closed to all students during a set time because of 'misuse') and I literally had no help from anyone at all. Never realized it was as bad for other people too."

- RebelRebelPebble

"I'm a teacher. This rule drives me mental. I get it, you don't want kids wandering the halls. How about you get out of your office and patrol the halls once a day then? Or a week. Or even a year."

- GreenLurka

Invasion of privacy.

"This is probably very specific to my home country but period checks."

"I'm from Malaysia and yes sadly this is a thing and I've witnessed it firsthand. Mostly to make sure girls aren't lying about their periods just to get out of prayer activities."

- roticanaidraws

"I feel your pain! One of my P. E teachers used to record our periods in her register so she could give detentions when we said we couldn't take a shower after the session with that as a reason (note: we wanted to avoid the showers as they were open plan and we were made to shower together in front of each other. For a growing girl, it was horrible)"

- JoBoSoMo

We're failing our students by passing them.

"Passing students that aren't ready for the next grade because they need to pad their passing rates to keep funding. It's setting the kids up for failure down the road."

- VoijaRisa

"Some schools focus really hard on certain metrics. One school in my area has a ridiculously high rate of graduates that go to college. They do this in part by strongly encouraging students not intending to go to college to drop out or test out in their senior year."

- koghrun

Children are often given little autonomy or rights when it comes to taking control of a situation.

During the pandemic, some parents are practicing giving their kids more "choices with limits" to bring about well-being for their kids.

Ultimately, the lesson here might be to believe our youth when they feel something isn't right.

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