Ballarat Clarendon College trials water bottle ban for students

An exclusive school in Victoria is facing backlash from parents and students after banning water bottles being in the classroom.

Ballarat Clarendon College announced it was starting a “water trial” for students in years 5 to 9, which will see students leave their drink bottles outside the classroom during class time.

In a statement to NCA Newswire, the school said it was “exploring ways to support students’ learning and wellbeing in the classroom”.

“Currently, we are conducting a water bottle trial for Years 5-9 only. The trial requires students to leave their drink bottles outside the classroom for the duration of the lesson. “However, no student will go thirsty as there are ample opportunities during the day to drink water.

“Early feedback results indicate improved classroom climate, student learning and concentration due to reduced noise and fewer rest room breaks.”

Ballarat Clarendon College charges annual fees of between $13,500 for a Year 5 student and$20,600 per year for a Year 9 student.

The trial would run during the colder months of the year, as during summer the Department of Education recommends students drink water often and have a bottle with them as part of its heat health policy.

The recent move has received a mixture of feedback on social media, with some claiming it was a violation of human rights.

“I am an older student at Ballarat Clarendon Collage, and I’ve just heard news today that we have been banned from having water bottles in class/ going out to bubble taps to drink water. Apparently because its ‘too distracting’,” one student posted on Reddit.

“Obviously many of the students, myself included, are outraged. I think this needs to be addressed because we have classes from 10:15-12:50 with a small break in-between. During this time we are not allowed to drink water. Banning water is jeopardising students’ rights.

“We need to bring light to this issue, every person, every student has the fundamental right to access water at all times.”

While some shared this sentiment and pointed out water “is a basic human right”, others agreed with the trial and even teachers voiced their support.

“They’re a distraction as kids play, drop, shake or squirt water on each other,” one teacher said in response.

“I’m a teacher and I banned water bottles in my classroom. Got sick of bottle flipping, kids getting hit with flying bottles and spilling Stanley cups. All my kids know water bottles belong in bags and they can have the occasional sip if they so require,” another wrote.

Others lamented they had not had access to a water bottle during class time when they were younger.

“I was in school late 80s to early 2000s and no one had water bottles in class in any school I went to,” one person commented.

“Yeah this got me thinking and I don’t think I ever drank in class through the 80s (and) 90s. I’m not against it, but a bubbler at lunch and between class was never an issue for me,” another wrote.

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