Call for review of 'extreme' school rules

A group of Japanese high school students and teachers has submitted a petition to the education ministry calling for a review of school rules that could be excessively strict.

The group encourages young people to participate in political activities. Members delivered about 19,000 signatures they collected online to parliamentary vice education minister Wanibuchi Yoko on Friday.

The petition refers to a survey by the ministry that shows more than 5,500 students stopped attending school over issues related to school rules in the academic year through March 2020.

The group says students should not be forced to wear uniforms, because of differing gender identities and other factors.

It also urges the ministry to conduct a nationwide survey on school rules and instruct local education boards to immediately abolish school rules that could lead to human rights violations or denial of students' identities.

One of the petition organizers is Nishimura Yuji, a public high school teacher in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan. He says some schools persistently discipline students who do not follow rules until they finally leave their school. He says it is important to respect students' inner-self regardless of the color of their hair or clothes.

A student from a senior high school in Tokyo says schools should respect diversity and keep up with the times, instead of just maintaining old rules, especially if there are students who suffer because of them.