More Outrage! English Schools Ban Ties For Fear of Choking

English school boys are suddenly being forced to switch from old-fashioned ties to clip-ons. What overactive overprotective notion is behind this development, sent in by reader Gregory Sutter? The BBC ahstbtytkn

In May the Schoolwear Association, the trade body for the school uniform industry, said 10 schools a week in the UK were switching, because of fears of ties getting caught in equipment or strangling pupils.

It’s about time someone put those fiendish neckties in their place! I just hope the authorities mandate adult supervision at tie-donning time, as kids could all too easily puncture their windpipes with the clip-on clips.

Come to think of it: Wouldn’t velcro ties would be safer?  — Lenore

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53 Responses to More Outrage! English Schools Ban Ties For Fear of Choking

  1. karenwilde July 27, 2009 at 8:20 pm #

    Oh dear me! When are bureaucrats going to find something useful to do! How many years have children been wearing ties to school – probably around 100 or more. And how many incidents have been reported? I don’t ever remember seeing any.

  2. Dave Morris July 27, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    See, I agree whole-heartedly with getting rid of school ties, but not for reasons of safety!

    I mean sure, we used to strangle each other with them and get them caught in band-saws and the like, but you know – the reponsibilty of wearing a tie is NOT too much for a 16-year-old to cope with. They may as well shave every students’ head and tell them to wear a wig for safety reasons.

  3. Wendy July 27, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    I wore a tie at secondary school no one came to any harm. I can’t ever remember hearing about an accident with a school tie ever.

    Can think of other resons not to wear them hot in summer, difficult to tie for little children after PE etc

  4. crossgirl July 27, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    Buttons can be shoved up noses thereby impairing breathing ability. They should probably just go ahead and switch to velcro closures on the shirts while they’re at it.

  5. Katie July 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    Here in Ottawa, ON Canada, some schools have banned scarfs in the winter for the ‘fear of chocking’. So parents have to go out and buy neck warmers instead! Since when has a child ever, ever been chocked? Ugh.

  6. Jen July 27, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    A tie can be caught easily in wood working equipment or machine-shop equipment but just walking around wearing one is not going to get anyone hurt.

    Scarves can get caught on playground equipment and choke a small child, especially on slides where gravity is pulling the kid down the slide and the scarf is holding them in place. I had a scary moment like that once when my coat tie got caught on a slide and I got stuck. It was difficult to get it undone and I *could* breathe.

    However! Banning scarves? Or ties? STUPID. Like we say here at FRK, teach them common sense! Make sure the scarf ends are tucked into a coat before going down and take off your tie (and rings and other chains/jewelry) when working with equipment that could catch it and hurt you.

  7. Jen July 27, 2009 at 9:17 pm #

    As for ‘has this ever happened?’ yes, it has. However, it’s admittedly rare and can easily be prevented with common sense. Kids are much much more likely to have bike accidents or car accidents then a serious injury at school. Maybe they should ban bikes and cars? MUCH more dangerous than scarves. [/sarcasm]

    Schoolyard Accidents are Rare and Usually Involve Falls

    “I would think it’s a very rare occurrence on playgrounds, especially locally. But the difficulty is it can have devastating outcomes, so it’s definitely something parents should be aware of,” she said.
    The group advises parents to be aware of anything that could cause a similar accident, such as mitten strings, scarves or rope from jump-roping play. The group suggested children wear tube-shaped neck warmers instead of scarves.

    MMA’s Salah said his school implemented a policy effective immediately regarding the use of hazardous clothing. “We sent a memo to parents, saying that we are banning the use of scarves on school property, as well as any clothing item that may restrict the flow of air and blood circulation,” the Chronicle Herald reported.

  8. Kelley July 27, 2009 at 9:57 pm #

    Lenore and crossgirl, Velcro can be scratchy! I can’t believe you’d suggest such a dangerous alternative. Clearly over-the-head cotton sacks with no decoration are the only safe option for our children’s school uniforms…

  9. Katie July 27, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    Sorry, I was exaggerating a little – I understand it *could happen, but to ban them, seems a little extreme.

    Ha – Velcro. I remember the kids with velcro shoes got teased at school for not knowing how to tie their shoes. Now in the elementary schools, we have to send them with velcro shoes because teachers don’t want to have to help the students, and for the fear of a child tripping over loose laces!

  10. SheWhoPicksUpToys July 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    How many kids play on playground equipment while wearing scarves anyway? You wear scarves when it is COLD. The equipment is also freezing at that time.

    The drawstrings on windbreakers or sweatshirts are another matter. I never considered it a big worry, but kids’ jackets no longer come with true drawstrings for that reason anyway. I’m not sure adult ones even do.

  11. Nicole July 27, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    I know! They can wear those Tuxedo Tshirt – the tie and buttons are a simple, harmless graphic!

  12. Uly July 27, 2009 at 11:50 pm #

    How many kids play on playground equipment while wearing scarves anyway? You wear scarves when it is COLD. The equipment is also freezing at that time.

    You’ve clearly never met my nieces 😛

    But the solution is simple enough – tuck the scarf into the jacket and call it a day!

  13. ebohlman July 28, 2009 at 12:03 am #

    Nicole: Simple graphic, yes. Harmless? The dyes used to make it? If a kid ate several times his weight in them in one sitting, he’d probably die. Not what you’d call safe (actually when I was growing up, “safe” had a real meaning. Nothing is “safe” in the sense that the word is used today). Better just have kids go to school nude (look up the historical use of, and etymology of, “gymnasium” some time).

  14. Cheryl July 28, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    “How many kids play on playground equipment while wearing scarves anyway? You wear scarves when it is COLD. The equipment is also freezing at that time.”

    Ha! SheWhoPicksUpToys, you must live in a place that’s warm much of the time. Where I grew up, it was cold & snowy much of the school year. Of course we used playground equipment when it was cold! We also used to drag each other around, sliding on the packed snow. Probably not allowed today. Dangerous, you know. Come to think of it, I might have tripped over my scarf doing that.

  15. Mike July 28, 2009 at 12:46 am #

    So, my guess here is that some enterprising young student thought he could get out of wearing a necktie if he could prove how dangerous it was. He was probably thrilled when the administration agreed, but forgot to factor in the clip-ons.

  16. EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy July 28, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    This risk is understood and controllable.

    The type of mechanics and machinist who wear ties—yes, they exist and are the people most at risk from their neckwear—have always tucked them between the first and second buttons of their shirt before going near the machinery. Or wear bowties.

    The other important point, which many people here seem to be overlooking, is that clip-on ties are an abomination. If you are going to wear something as formal as a tie, you want it to look *good*.

  17. Kenny Felder July 28, 2009 at 1:11 am #

    After we get rid of the ties and scarves, can we also ban pants riding half-way down the butt? I mean, I’m just saying.

  18. Jen July 28, 2009 at 1:23 am #

    Kenny: YES! Please god some kids need a belt! Or suspenders! Man I hate seeing someone’s underwear while out in public. Is there a nice way of saying “Pull up your damn pants?”

  19. kherbert July 28, 2009 at 1:40 am #

    As a safety measure I make the kids take off their coats before going to PE or recess. To prevent heat stroke. Why they want to wear them outside when it is between 100 – 80 – that I haven’t figured out. (The building is cold due to AC)

    Parents need to teach their children to tie shoes before they enter school. If they can’t tie shoes they need to wear Velcro shoes. I don’t have time to tie 22 filthy pairs of shoes over and over and over again.

  20. Mere July 28, 2009 at 1:40 am #

    Well then, no one should be wearing ties in Shop class should they? I’m pretty sure we were told to take all necklaces or get long hair out of the way too.

  21. ebohlman July 28, 2009 at 1:58 am #

    Kenny: A number of communities, mostly in the US South, have done just that (or tried to; it’s very unlikely that such laws would survive review). Actually showing any buttcrack is often classified as indecent exposure, which generally gets you on the sex offender registry and subjects you to anti-pedophile restrictions.

  22. ShortWoman July 28, 2009 at 2:09 am #

    By this logic, coat hooks must be banned immediately.

  23. SheWhoPicksUpToys July 28, 2009 at 2:17 am #

    ebohlman — it hasn’t worked on a public government level, but there’s no reason schools can’t make it part of a dress code. American public schools enforce dress codes all the time, at least in some parts of the country.

  24. SheWhoPicksUpToys July 28, 2009 at 2:30 am #

    FWIW, until the last couple of decades when workplace attire has become more casual, engineers and shop floor managers and the like routinely wore ties around manufacturing equipment of all types. They knew they were supposed to wear these things called “tie clips” that kept their ties from dangling where they ought not. (I can clearly remember my engineer husband wearing one every working day in the early years of our marriage.) I don’t recall a rash of workplace tie-related deaths in those days, but maybe I wasn’t paying attention.

  25. SheWhoPicksUpToys July 28, 2009 at 2:34 am #

    I see “Escaped West” made a similar point. Yes, tucking them in, wearing a clip, or (gasp) taking them off when working closely with equipment would be options as well. Why on earth can’t they just tell the kids to take their ties off in shop class and make them put them back on before the next class?

    Just read the actual article now:

    “The association also said that clip-on ties can stop pupils from customising the size of the knots in their ties. ”

    If that isn’t a lame throwaway excuse concocted for the sole reason of making the other reason look less stupid (and failing), I have never seen one.

  26. Uly July 28, 2009 at 2:45 am #

    “The association also said that clip-on ties can stop pupils from customising the size of the knots in their ties. ”

    The first articles I read about it suggested that the way you tie your knot can be a class-related thing, which suggests that the real reason is the same reason for schools in the US (and probably UK, I don’t know) to promote uniforms at all, so that kids find it harder to insult each other based upon dress.

  27. Pivo July 28, 2009 at 2:48 am #

    When I was a substitute teacher in high school, I was advised by the administration not to wear a necktie because some of the thug students find it handy to grab on to.
    Maybe that is what really is behind this ruling, and the fear of it getting caught in equipment is a red herring.

  28. lonedattyof3 July 28, 2009 at 3:55 am #

    I never wore a ring after seeing my grandfather’s finger before he went to the emergency room to have the skin sewn back on because his caught a roofing nail while he was swinging off of a ladder. Now I have good reason not to go to the Goodwill to pick up a tie–I have not owned one since being required to wear one to Sunday night chapel at boarding school in the ’60s. I no longer wear shoes, either–only slippers. And now I am thinking of shaving my head–you never know…!

  29. Sympathy July 28, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    Britain has become one of the most stifiling countries to live in.

  30. Mommy Myth Buster July 28, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    Clip-on ties could fall off causing a tripping hazard… On behalf of English school boys everywhere I move to ban ties all together.

  31. Sammi July 28, 2009 at 8:44 am #

    @Shortwoman–You should see the bruise on my arm I got from a coat hook at church last Sunday. My boyfriend took a look at it and looked at the other side of my arm to see if someone had grabbed me, it’s that bad.

    BTW, greetings from another vertically challenged female!

  32. Ana Blic July 28, 2009 at 9:33 am #

    Certainly some well connected person owns the clip-on tie factory – and will make lots of money on this “advance.”

  33. Rae July 28, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    Speaking of sagging pants and school dress codes: My son’s 6th grade principal would zip tie the belt loops of pants that were hanging too low.

  34. Nicola July 28, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    … I can’t even comprehend this ridiculousness. I really can’t. What is in the water over there on the island and please stop sending it stateside!! We don’t want to end up that far down the rungs of the common sense ladder!

  35. Tracey R July 28, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    You know, I think I should have just waited and had my kids when they were 30, so that I could trust them around things like marshmallows and ties. This whole thing called “childhood” and “teenaged years” and “twenties” should be spent safely in the womb.

  36. Steve July 28, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    This is absurd. Why don’t kids just have velcro shoes because kids can trip over untied laces and hurt themselves.

  37. Catherine July 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    Quite OT but my first thought is that I should start spreading this brand of hysteria at my children’s (public) school. I hate that my 6yo has to wear a tie every day (and you can guess who has to tie it!).

  38. Catherine July 28, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    Oh and love Nicole’s tuxedo tshirt suggestion. I can’t wait to bring that idea up at the next parents gathering!

  39. KBF July 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    My first thought was that men who are forced to wear ties should try to spread the word that they might not be safe just to get them out of having to wear the nooses! Ties suck. But then so do girdle undies and panty hose (does anyone still wear panty hose?).

  40. Mrs Embers July 28, 2009 at 8:06 pm #

    Pivo mentioned not wearing ties because ot thug students; my husband is a police officer, and he has to waer a clip-on tie because of thug EVERYONE- kids, teens, grown-ups…

    There obviously are reasons for not wearing regular ties, but banning them based on playground equipment seems a bit extreme!

  41. Freedom Debt Relief July 28, 2009 at 9:12 pm #

    This is really weird… i agree with you that ties are anytime better then clip-ons.

  42. SheWhoPicksUpToys July 28, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    But the class related thing doesn’t make sense, since anyone who can tie a tie can physically tie it one way, as opposed to another.

    If people CHOOSE to tie their ties based on cultural identities, that’s their problem, not the ties’ problem. It’s not like school uniforms at all, where the lack of them can allow obvious distinctions in wealth that are beyond the poorer students’ control. If everybody puts a tie on in the morning, it’s up to them how they tie it.

  43. SheWhoPicksUpToys July 28, 2009 at 11:17 pm #

    BTW, it’s also more simply solved by requiring a uniform knot on the ties. If they can require ties, they can require them to be tied a certain way. If teachers are already policing ties and shirt colors and tucked in shirts and everything else that goes with uniforms, there’s no increased difficulty in policing how the ties are tied. Removing ties because of how people tie them makes no sense, and I refuse to believe it’s a real reason, rather than something made up later so that the real reason doesn’t sound so lame.

  44. Uly July 28, 2009 at 11:28 pm #

    This is absurd. Why don’t kids just have velcro shoes because kids can trip over untied laces and hurt themselves.

    My niece’s school (which admittedly goes only up to the 2nd grade next year) just did that! LOL, and after we spent a *whole year* teaching the kids in class to tie their shoes! (Well, not Ana. She *already* knew how to tie her shoes. I insisted, because *I* never learned until I was in my double digits.)

  45. babelbabe July 29, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    isn’t there a famous quote about men wearing little nooses around their necks? wait, here it is (thank god for Google):

    “If men can run the world, why can’t they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?” ~Linda Ellerbee

  46. GirlThursday July 31, 2009 at 11:13 pm #

    *scratch head* uh… ok, are these, like, vo-tech type schools? Or at least schools with serious vo-tech courses? I guess I could see this if the majority of the students were learning auto mechanics or carpentry. But I can’t see a vo-tech school permitting ties in the first place, for exactly this reason. Afraid the kids are going to strangle themselves in… what equipment? One of those nefarious chemistry beakers? A vicious copy of Fahrenheit 451??? Oh, maybe they’ll snag it on the metal detector when they walk through the front door. That must be it.

  47. Sam Bland September 3, 2009 at 4:57 am #

    Why dont schools just ban ties all together. They are unesserary, school unifrom does my head in wheres the self expression going. The world is going backwords|!!

  48. Ben September 17, 2009 at 7:23 pm #

    I totally agree with Sam Bland. Ban ties altogether, it’s not like they serve a useful purpose like, say, a winter scarf…

  49. Plessdryday October 5, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Just found this oneline store with Authentic RL Polo shits have been looking for a while and even have been to ebay but its all fake there. Big Pony Polo RL !


  50. Donna July 5, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    I agree, why do they wear ties with the school uniforms anyway. The serve no purpose what so ever.

  51. car review September 9, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    Buttons can be shoved up noses thereby impairing breathing ability. They should probably just go ahead and switch to velcro closures on the shirts while they’re at it.


  1. Unblogged Bits for Friday, 31 July 2009 | ***Dave Does the Blog - August 1, 2009

    […] More Outrage! English Schools Ban Ties For Fear of Choking « FreeRangeKids – And no more wands at Hogwarts, either! You could fall down and poke out an eye with one of those things! […]

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