The headmaster of Ruthin School in Wales recently made the news when he banned romance at his school.
I’d like to think that what Toby Belfield meant to say was that he was banning public displays of affection, but in an email leaked to the media he wrote:
“I STRONGLY disapprove of any boyfriend/girlfriend relationships — and it will ALWAYS affect any university reference I write (meaning any student in a relationship will definitely get a worse reference from me).
“Relationships can start at university, and not at Ruthin School.
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“I will be talking to staff and, as in previous years, I will put together a list of any student with a boyfriend or girlfriend. These students — if in L6 or F5 [Years 11 or 12] can expect to find new schools in September.
“There are plenty of students that wish to attend Ruthin School without the diversion of romance — and these students can replace those students whose focus is on [boyfriend/girlfriend] relationships.
“School is not the place for romantic relationships — ever.”
Clearly Belfield is not a man to mince his words, although he did later soften his stance saying, “Pupils will not be summarily expelled for being in a relationship. They will be given the opportunity to review their current romantic situation, and my belief is that they (and their parents) will put their education first.”
I can understand why he would ban sex on his campus. After all, most work places ban sex on the premises (although probably not explicitly) and it is generally frowned upon to have sex in public spaces like classrooms and rugby fields. But, I struggle to understand why you would want to take a glorious experience like romance away from a teenager.
As a teen I dreamed endlessly about being whisked away into some idealistic love-fuelled fairy tale, and today as the mother of a teenager I see how beneficial that dream could have been if it was a reality.