How to Protest a School Rule

School rules can create controversy and clashing opinions between staff and students. Fortunately, students almost always outnumber staff: There is strength in numbers. You can organize and protest against a new or old school rule, and you can succeed in your cause.


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    Find a cause. You need to feel passionate about what you protest against. Most of the times, school administrators implement a new rule that students find ridiculous: This can be an opportunity to spark something. If a fight-worthy cause comes up, make sure to act when it is new and when people are not used to it. Go through the official rulebook of the school to find out exactly what the rule is: Find out exactly how it is supposed to be enforced as well. Look at the rhetoric. If the rule is older, do a bit of research about what the rules generally were. Then, think about it: Is this worth protesting? Will it really make a difference to you and the student body, or do you just want to oppose the school?
    • Review the rules in your school handbook. Many are old, outdated, or may seem ridiculous. If they are enforced at outdated, this is an ideal way to abolish that rule.
    • Listen to teachers. They know what's going on in the school, and they will talk about the latest gossip, often including a rule or idea that they disagree with.
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    Identify the strengths of your argument and the weaknesses of the rule. This is very similar to writing a persuasive essay: You need to find why the rule should not exist. Find its disadvantages, its weak points, and why you disagree. Talk with classmates and teachers about why they disagree or agree. There may (probably will) be several reasons. List and compile all of these reasons why this rule is not optimal. Then, find the advantages of not having that rule: Talk to anyone that you see about how life in school will improve without this rule. Remember to list and save these reasons as well! Put everything together and find the strongest arguments.
    • How will the school change for the better? Why will the school be better off without it? Will it better the society, the student body, the teachers, and/or the classes?
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    Find support among classmates. If your opinion is a popular one, then this is simply a matter of spreading the word. Distribute flyers, tape things up around the school, ask teachers if you can make a thirty-second presentation at the beginning of class. One of the best ways to spread the word is by word of mouth: Tell all of your friends, or send out a mass email: Then tell them to do the same! You can ask teachers to tell students about your movement. Some school systems have announcements and intercoms: ask if you can take a moment to make a quick announcement. If you can get the attention of the cafeteria (stand on a table and shout for a minute) you can spread the word to over a hundred students at a time.
    • This will be much harder to do if your opinion is an unpopular one. If you have an assignment to give a speech, consider giving it on your opinion. Be aware that because you will be unlikely to attain a majority, it will be very hard to change the rule.
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    Determine your 'battle plan'. The most common, and most effective, methods of doing this are staging a protest and forming a petition.
    • If you stage a protest, you might need to have a permit, depending on where you stage it. You will need to set a time, date, and place at least a week away. Put up flyers, tell everybody, make an announcement: Do whatever you need to do to get followers. Hold a poster-making session to create some spirit. Make sure that people understand that this will be a peaceful protest.
    • If you start a petition, make sure that it has a place for name, grade, and signature. At the top of every page type I oppose the requirement that "insert reason here". Print out multiple copies, hand them out to your friends, and take them to all of your classes. If you have after school or extracurricular activities with friends, take it to those activities to have them sign! Make sure that all signatures are in pen, and make sure that nobody signs twice for legal reasons.
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    Follow through. Present the petition or results of the protest. Set up a meeting with the principal or school board: Mention your cause, your argument, and stress how many people showed up. If you had at least 20% of the school, chances are excellent that you will succeed. If they do take public opinion into consideration, realize that they may not eliminate the rule in its entirety: They might adapt it, or not change it at all. We have the right to petition and peaceful protest, but they have the right to ignore us. Be proud of your self whether or not you succeed: You have made a difference.


  • Create an infrastructure with friends to help you.
  • Speak to authority with manners and respect.
  • Talk to teachers and get to know their opinions. This will give you a better idea of how your actions will be received.


  • This may not end in success because it fizzles or word gets out: These things sometimes go nowhere if you don't have good ground.
  • The school board may ignore your actions completely.
  • If your protest or actions end violently, you can be legally penalized and/or suspended or expelled.

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Categories: School Discipline | School Stuff