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Police called to Homewood School in Tenterden as TikTok trend sparks pupil protest over toilets and skirts

Police have been called to Kent's largest secondary school as pupils stage a TikTok-inspired protest over new rules.

It is understood the rally at Homewood School in Tenterden has been sparked by various issues – including toilets being closed during lessons, female teachers allegedly going into male changing rooms and the length of skirts.

Pupils have been inspired to protest following similar incidents across the country that have been shared on TikTok.

A video shared on the social media platform last week had set out plans for the rally.

It comes after the school in Ashford Road sent a letter to parents on Friday urging them to advise their children against taking part in such "totally unacceptable and dangerous" protests.

Meanwhile, teachers across London and the south east are planning to take part in a day of strikes on Thursday over pay and conditions – which some parents feel is demonstrating double standards.

One parent, who has two sons at the school, said: "We weren't happy about receiving the letter on Friday as the parents feel the teachers are being hypocritical by striking themselves on Thursday.

Police arrived at Homewood School in Tenterden after reports of a protest
Police arrived at Homewood School in Tenterden after reports of a protest
Police were called to the school this morning
Police were called to the school this morning

"The kids have been bringing up these issues for a long time now but no one has been listening.

"They feel like they haven't got a voice.

"In the letter sent out on Friday, the teachers mentioned setting up a new school council but it feels like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted."

One parent was told by her daughter "pupils were being sick they were so anxious".

She added: "All the alarms went off and police were everywhere. It must have been terrifying for the little ones."

At least two police vehicles – a van and a car – were seen in the school grounds just before 11am.

The letter, seen by KentOnline, said: "While we feel that it is important that all members of our community have the opportunity to voice their thoughts and feelings and to contribute to developing an inclusive environment where everyone feels safe, happy and valued, there are, of course, ways and means for this to be achieved.

Homewood School in Ashford Road
Homewood School in Ashford Road

"Unofficial and unplanned protests in schools undermine safety and therefore put others at risk, including some with very serious vulnerabilities, which is clearly very wrong and dangerous on a number of levels.

"If students do have concerns and/or ideas for the school, they should raise these in more appropriate ways, for example by writing a letter, speaking to their community office or their form tutor.

"We would therefore ask that all parents and carers speak to their children and ensure they understand why such action is not just unhelpful to any particular cause, but totally unacceptable.

"Please also reinforce the message that severe sanctions will be issued to any student undermining the safety of others in school."

Police were also called to the school last month after a Year 9 pupil suffered two 15mm-deep puncture wounds to the back of her leg during the "terrifying" break-time attack.

Elsewhere in the country, about 100 pupils are protesting at Walton Academy in Grantham.

It's understood they are staying out of lessons and striking over the introduction of unisex toilets, bullying and mental health.

Police confirmed they visited the school as part of their patrols in Tenterden.

A spokesperson for the force said officers "engaged with young people in the area and will continue to liaise with the school".

Homewood School has been approached for comment.

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