A primary school in Sydney, Australia has recently adopted a policy that bans clapping at assemblies, according to SkyNews. As written in the school’s newsletter, the restriction was created in order to protect students who might be more sensitive to loud sounds.
The Elanora Heights Public School released a newsletter on July 18 formally announcing the clapping ban. Instead of clapping and hollering, the teachers will prompt the students to do “silent cheers,” which can consist of making excited faces, punching the air, and squirming around. According to the newsletter, in addition to making the school a safer space for kids that might be upset by loud noises, the quiet celebrations are also a good way to tire out the restless students, and reduce fidgeting.
The silent cheering initiative follows in the wake of a number of other sensitivity programs at schools around the country. Among them, many schools have banned hugging between students, and one school passed a rule that requires the use of gender neutral pronouns on the same day the announcement about the Elanora Heights rule was released.
It’s possible that this is the first school to ban clapping, although in 2015, a feminist conference in the United Kingdom also banned clapping as it triggered some people’s anxiety. Their preferred replacement cheer was jazz hands. It is unclear if jazz hands will be permissible under the new Elanora Heights policy.