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Child support group targets unfair school rules in wake of forced hair-dyeing

Nonprofit group Kids' Door head Yumiko Watanabe, left, and project supervisor Chiki Ogiue introduce examples of unreasonable school rules at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Dec. 14, 2017. (Mainichi)

A nonprofit organization has announced a campaign to eliminate unreasonable rules from schools, following the news that a public high school in Osaka Prefecture forced a student to dye her natural brown hair black.

At a news conference in Tokyo on Dec. 14, Yumiko Watanabe, director of the nonprofit group Kids' Door, said the body would survey people across Japan on unreasonable school rules and guidelines and focus its efforts on eliminating "black" school rules across the country.

Before the announcement, the organization gathered opinions on Twitter about what rules people felt were unreasonable. Issues that came up included having to turn in official paperwork about naturally curling hair when entering a school and other hair-related rules, as well as guidelines about clothing and when commuting to schools.

Project supervisor and critic Chiki Ogiue commented, "There are many irrational rules with no guaranteed educational benefits, and they are paired with inappropriate discipline, such as open criticism of the student who violated the rule."

The internet questionnaire will be handled by a survey company, and aims to collect responses from around 2,000 people between the ages of 20 and 59. In using this sample set, the survey hopes to uncover generational differences in school rules as well as unique characteristics of each region and between schools. The group plans to release the results in Jan. 2018.

"I would like to have an open discussion with all of society about what form a new generation of school rules should take," said Watanabe.

Examples of "unreasonable school rules" collected on Twitter:

- Submission of a "curly hair declaration" in conjunction with a ban on perms

- No styling hair or eyebrows (Man in his 30s who attended a public high school)

- Female students' underwear must be white. Skirt was lifted for a "check."

- Cardigans prohibited (Man in his 20s who attended a private high school)

- Sunscreen use prohibited

- Commuting to school only allowed by foot

- Couples prohibited from leaving school together (Woman in her 20s who attended a public junior high school)

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