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British school bans expensive coats - including Christmas gifts - to avoid 'poverty shaming

Canada Goose coats on display Jan. 18, 2018, inside the Canada Goose Director Suite during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival Marriott in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Canada Goose)

A secondary school in northwestern England is barring expensive designer coats in an effort to eliminate “poverty-shaming" for students whose parents can't afford the items.

Who is affected?

Parents of students at Woodchurch High School were reportedly given a letter from the school that stated, “Pupils will not be permitted to bring in Canadian [sic] Goose and Monclair [sic] coats after the Christmas break."

Pyrenex coats, which carry a similar price tag, are also prohibited.

About 46 percent of the school’s students are considered low-income, according to reports. For example, the school provides free sanitary products and limits backpacks to a certain type, so parents aren’t pressured to buy ones that are more expensive.

"They feel stigmatized, they feel left out, they feel inadequate,” Headteacher Rebekah Phillips told the Independent.

Woodchurch is an open-admission co-ed secondary school serving 11- to 16-year-olds, the Washington Post reported. It’s also a Church of England academy and cites a "Christian Ethos" as a part of its learning environment. The school also strives to celebrate diversity and make everyone feel welcome.

What do they symbolize?

“Canada Goose opened its first flagship stores in Toronto and New York in 2016. And its coats are hardly the preserve of iconoclast explorers,” according to the Washington Post. “They’re ubiquitous in well-heeled circles, prompting backlash and making the coats a potent symbol of vexed class dynamics.”

The coats could cause problems for students whose parents can’t afford the $1,000 Canada Goose jackets, which feature an inverted North Pole and maple leaves.

Some say that logo is synonymous with wealth.

It’s not clear if the potential for hurt feelings is really the issue or if kids who don’t have expensive things are being bullied by those who do, Reason.com noted.

According to a YouGov survey, 68 percent of people surveyed approve of the school's policy. Seventeen percent oppose it, and 15 percent indicated they are not sure.

Canada Goose calls itself "(un)official jacket of film crews everywhere it’s cold.” A short film in 2015 begins announced that Canada Goose, for almost 60 years, “has been freeing people from the cold,” the Washington Post noted.

The company has also been criticized for using coyote fur in its designs, but says it operates in accordance with international standards, according to the Washington Post.

One last thing…
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