A high school in Birkenhead, England has banned its students from wearing expensive jackets because they perpetuate inequality between classmates. It's part of the school's goal to end "poverty shaming."
Woodchurch High School told parents about the ban on Canada Goose jackets, along with ones by the brands Moncler and Pyrenex, in a letter, Global News reported. The letter urged parents to be mindful that students who saw their peers in expensive jackets often pushed their families to purchase similar items, even if the price was too high for them to afford.
"We are very concerned as a school about poverty-proofing our school environment and, as such, we met with groups of pupils and made the decision in consultation with them," Woodchurch's headteacher Rebekah Phillips told BBC News.
Students without expensive winter gear feel upset, she said in an interview with the Independent. "They feel stigmatised, they feel left out, they feel inadequate."
The school is committed to minimizing the differences between its students — two years ago it mandated that all students must use the same backpack. It also reduced non-uniform days because students were being bullied for their outfits. The school's dedication to equality for its students isn't without reason — 46 per cent of its population of 1,427 students comes from low-income families.
A former student wrote to Phillips, saying that the decision was a step in the right direction because school shouldn't be a place where students' "economic background is rubbed in their faces and distracts them from learning," according to CNN.
Other schools in the U.K. have taken similar measures, with one banning expensive pencil cases, in an attempt to level the playing field for students.
Canada Goose — a Toronto-based company — sells jackets that cost several hundred dollars. Many styles clock in at over a thousand dollars.
The ban will kick in after the Christmas break.