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Babies of the '80s may remember the weirdly trendy toys known as pogs, flat cardboard discs decorated with different designs. Players would battle each other by combining their pogs to form a stack, then one player would "slam" a thicker pog on top of the pile and keep whatever pogs flipped over. (Really? That's what kept kids entertained?) Schools across North America and Europe may recall these all too well; they were eventually banned in the early '90s for starting school arguments, encouraging gambling, and being potentially dangerous (flying objects and children are generally not a good mix).
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Kids arent the only ones who get things taken away from them during class. In 2008, teachers in a U.K. school werent allowed to use red ink to mark papers. (Green ink replaced it.) Despite what parents thought, the headmaster of the school insisted the ban simply reflected a school-wide policy and was not intended to prevent students feelings from getting hurt. Eh, were not so sure about that.
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High School Band Gear
Even an activity as wholesome as marching band isnt safe from the long arm of the (school) law. In 2009, officials in a Missouri school prohibited students from wearing this band t-shirt, which features the evolution of man in front of an array of musical instruments. We doubt the shirt designers were trying to cause a stir — everyones carrying a trumpet, for goodness sake — but some anti-evolution parents were adamant that the t-shirts didnt hit school hallways.
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I Love Boobies Bracelets
While the phrase on this bracelet may be a little bold for some parents tastes, most didnt mind when teens started wearing them in 2010 in high schools across the U.S. to raise breast cancer awareness. Administrators at Baltic High School in South Dakota, however, took issue with the controversial accessory along with other schools across the country. Guess the bracelets creators got what they wanted: people talking about it.
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The goth teen in all of us took a hit with this weird school ban: black lipstick. In 2008, a 13-year-old was told to remove his eyeliner and black lipstick because it was supposedly too extreme and distracting for school grounds. While his mom thought the school was biased against not eyeliner, but guyliner, the school claimed the same rules applied to girls wearing too much makeup.
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How quickly things change. What is normally a friendly way to greet a friend has become a scourge on our educational systems. In an effort to discourage PDA during school, hugging (nope, this isnt weird teen slang for drugs, just plain-old hugging) was banned at an Australian high school in 2011. Offenders would go straight to detention.
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Silly Bandz banned! (Say that 10 times fast.) The ubiquitous rubber bands that come in every shape under the sun were blacklisted by several schools across the U.S. in mid-2010. What could be so troublesome about a bracelet shaped like a giraffe? Students were reportedly using class time to swap the bands and constantly fiddled with them.
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Trendy teens just cant win: first denim was too baggy for school officials tastes, and then a school district in Pennsylvania proposed eliminating too-tight skinny jeans from acceptable student dress code late this year. While some styles of jeggings do make one consider the fine line between outer- and undergarments, your average straight-leg pair doesnt seem particularly offensive. The school ended up lifting the ban after parents complained they couldnt find an acceptable alternative for their kids. Lesson learned: skinny jeans are better than no jeans at all.
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No, it wasnt some racy, young-adult novel that ruffled parents feathers this year, but a dictionary. After a student looked up oral sex in the Merriam-Webster, (hey, one less birds-and-the-bees discussion for parents) the school removed it from library shelves. Couldnt they just have ordered the childrens edition?
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The cafeteria isnt safe from school bans either. This little-kid staple has recently been banned in schools around America in an effort to curb childhood obesity. Some wonder if its a good thing or if the health policies have gone too far. Well at least plain white milk is just as good for blowing bubbles (which we, uh, never do. Never).
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B.F., or Before Facebook, tweens needed something techy and controversial to get parents talking. Enter the innocuous Tamagotchi virtual pet, created in 1996 in Japan. Kids immediately took to the tiny video game where they fed and cared for their own pixelated creature, and since the game was easily portable as a keychain, many virtual pets spent the day in school. Although teachers must have been pleased that virtual Tamagotchi poop didnt stink, school districts brought down the axe on these toys for distracting students during class time.
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Gotta catch em all! Except during school hours, that is. The insanely popular Pokemon cards were barred from elementary schools as far back as the late 90s, although this new generation of Pokemon fans seems to be more ingenious than the early adopters: a nine-year-old from Queens, NY, wrote a letter to his teacher explaining the educational aspect behind Pikachu and crew, asking to lift his schools long-time ban on the card game — and it worked!
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The Word Meep
Outside of The Muppet Show, (remember Beaker?), this is a word you probably dont hear much — but meep was banned from one high school in 2009 once the principal got wind of a potential school-wide meeping. Any student caught uttering the word or displaying it on their clothing would be up for suspension. We wonder if the principals reaction was overblown; considering all the other things high-schoolers could get caught up in, are a few meeps really so bad?
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Though that cute lip balm may look fun and innocent, it was believed that students sharing lip balms was contributing to the spread of illnesses and germs — or so said one school district in 2010 where administrators required a permission slip for kids who wanted to prevent chapped lips during school hours. Most parents werent too keen to hop on the, er, banned-wagon, however: one mom wondered, Is it just me, or has common sense gone out the window lately?
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Hoodies seemed like the perfect solution for kids they were comfy, held up against wear and tear, and reduced Put on your jacket! requests from parents. In 2009, one school district in Kansas disagreed, saying kids had started using the hoodies front pockets to hide their cell phones while they texted. Apparently, kids had memorized the keyboard and no longer needed a screen to text. Makes you nostalgic for the days we passed notes, huh?
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Using His and Her
Gender stereotyping generally seems to make headlines and when it comes to schools, its no different. In 2011, a preschool in Stockholm garnered attention for eliminating the words him, her, boy, and girl from students vocabularies, replacing them with genderless pronouns. While gender equality is a worthy discussion topic, we wonder if taking out key words just makes the issue even harder to talk about.
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You better think twice before toting your birthday cupcakes to class — at least if you go to the Minnesota school that brought down the axe on all sweets in 2010. No more cookies, cinnamon rolls, or cakes for dessert with school lunches, all in an effort to live up to a wellness policy teachers and students had previously agreed to but never really put into action. Many parents felt it an encroachment on their lunch-packing liberties (whats life without a few treats, after all?) but its a good lesson in living up to your promises, if nothing else.
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Dont worry, the DMV wasnt going to put a license in your first graders hands; this time, parents are feeling the sting of school bans. An elementary school in Toronto banned drop-offs in cars in 2010, which was surprisingly met with 100 percent compliance by students and families (even with comparatively far-away students hoofing it to class). In an age where the time we spend outside is rapidly decreasing, this is one ban we can get behind — as long as the path to school is safe, of course.
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