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Last Updated: Friday, 3 June, 2005, 07:25 GMT 08:25 UK
School ban outlaws 'hoodies'
anti-hoodie poster
Bans have been introduced at shopping centres
A head teacher is banning hooded tops in a crackdown on badly-behaved pupils who use them to hide their faces.

Staff at Maesteg Comprehensive near Bridgend say they will confiscate the 'hoodies' from any pupil found wearing one when children return to school.

Letters were sent to parents last week informing them of the new ruling.

The children's charity NCH has said most youngsters are "mystified" by the opposition to the tops.

The move at Maesteg comprehensive school follows a series of high-profile bans across the UK, triggered by a decision not to allow them at the Bluewater shopping complex in Kent.

All hooded tops will be confiscated and only returned at the end of each half-term
Head teacher Anne Carhart

Last month, the centre issued a code of conduct which also banned swearing, anti-social behaviour and caps. Tony Blair expressed support and the shopping centre said visitor numbers increased after the ban was introduced.

In a newsletter sent to parents, Maesteg head teacher Anne Carhart thanked parents for their support in a recent "clampdown" on uniforms.

But she added : "We are particularly concerned as hooded tops are reappearing and the hood is being used to hide pupils' identity during unacceptable behaviour.

Maesteg Comprehensive School
Pupils will not be allowed to wear 'hoodies' when they return

"All hooded tops will be confiscated and only returned at the end of each half-term."

But NCH youth worker Leah Savory said youngsters she meets do not understand why adults connect certain fashion items with intimidation and criminality.

For the vast majority of youngsters, wearing a hood is much more about wearing clothes that are young and fashionable than it is about looking deliberately intimidating and threatening, she said.

But Ms Savory said it was definitely not acceptable for individual young people or groups to intimidate threaten or abuse others, in a shopping centre, on the streets or anywhere else.

But she added adults cannot "have it both ways".

"If this is what we think as a society we should say so, and the police, neighbourhood wardens and others should enforce these rules - clearly, fairly and transparently.

"On the one hand, we have educationalists and psychologists saying it is good for young people to express themselves and to be encouraged to tolerate difference. "On the other hand, adults are actually banning the clothes they choose to wear.

As well as the Bluewater outlawing of 'hoodies', a violent teenager from Manchester was also recently given an Asbo which included a five-year-ban on wearing a hooded top.

'Hoodies' hunted after vandalism
01 Jun 05 |  Somerset
Hoodie ban for violent teenager
26 May 05 |  Manchester

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