Calls to ban mufti day for anxiety it can cause young students

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

For many students a mufti day is a fun day free from itchy school uniforms, but for one student it means listening to their family member crying all night long as stress and anxiety takes hold.  

The student has petitioned their New Zealand school, who is unidentified to protect the identity of the child, to ban mufti days altogether to help ease stress on children who feel pressured by what to wear. 

The child  went so far as to say that banning mufti day could even save lives. 

"Now you may think that 'saving someones life' may sound dramatic but are you forgetting the memorial to students who have died?" he wrote.

"Some of those were suicide due to bullying. I'm not saying Mufti Day is directly linked to suicide but can you really argue that it's not going to be a huge event for bullying?"

The petition organiser said that poverty meant some children live in fear of being labelled or being bullied for having old, or uncool clothing. 

"Everyone deserves the right to feel safe, secure and happy... It's selfish to deny someone that right and it's so simple to reverse this recurring problem within our school. And I'm begging you as a fellow student to help me end it."

The school principal was made aware of the petition but to protect students did not discuss the matter further. 

"We will seek to gain the views of our children and our college community, ensuring all feel listened to before progressing this matter further," the principal said.

Advertisement

"Beyond that I have no further comment to make."

Psychologist Nadine Isler said this fear of social comparison could be one underlying issue but shied away from supporting a blanket ban on mufti day.

"It's natural and healthy to compare yourself with others up to a point," she said. 

"This is an age when people are doing a lot of comparing from the latest cellphone or whose allowed to have a Facebook account etc.

"That [mufti day] being put into the mix I can see how it might be a cause for anxiety."

Isler said creating a mufti day ban could be a case of "treating the trigger not the underlying problem."

"We don't want to get to a point where we are regulating everything.

"That being said if this is causing problems for a large number of people perhaps there is a case to remove it."

Isler said parents and teachers should try to be open about anxiety and talk as much as possible about the topic. 

"It can be a hard conversation to have with children but it is important," she said.

Where to get help:

SANE helpline 1800 18 7263

Lifeline 13 11 44

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

 - Stuff