By now, you’ve surely heard about the Silly Bandz craze — they’re the colorful silicone bracelets that bend into a variety of shapes and drive kids wild.
My 8-year-old daughter and her friends spend recess swapping their Silly Bandz. Like a lot of parents, I’m relieved that it’s a fad that doesn’t require forking out big bucks for some electronic crap. It’s an added benefit that when my daughter and her friends trade the bandz, they are learning important negotiating skills.
But schools are finding the rubber band bracelets distracting and some have gone so far as to ban them. They’re going from Silly Bandz to Silly Banned.
The reason? Kids are snapping them at each other and bracelet trades gone bad lead to fights.
In Brazilian cities, a different style of cheap colorful bands have been banned from schools because they were used to “indicate sexual activity,” according to AP. For each different sexual act, a different colored band was broken off the wrist. A similar trend in England disturbed parents there last year. So far, that hasn’t caught on in the U.S.
Still, teachers find the colorful bracelets — and the fanaticism surround them — annoying. Pamela Vasta, the principal at a Catholic school outside Boston, banned the bracelets in the lower grades because teachers complained that the bracelets were distracting students in class.
“They would line them up on their desk; they were playing with them,” said Vasta. “Someone would lose one and they’d get all upset.”
One elementary in Texas banned the bracelets for fifth-graders.
In an e-mail to parents, the school called the bracelets a “huge distraction” with students “trading them and stealing them” from each other.
School districts across the country have adopted similar bans, threatening to confiscate the Bandz if students bring them to school.
When six school districts in Long Island, New York threatened to ban the bracelets, students voluntarily agreed to cut back. At one school, the school nurse had to send a letter home to parents after kids were getting injured by the bracelets.
“One child was wearing 95. Forty-five on each arm. And when she came she was complaining her fingers were cramping and I noticed they were turning white and a little bluish,” said school nurse Jo-Ann Walters.
I’d call that too much of a good thing!
In some cases, the ban on Silly Bandz only drives up the demand. At one after-school program at an elementary school in Maplewood, NJ, teachers told students they could no longer trade them because kids were stealing them and arguing over them.
“But like any good craze, interest among the kids only surged when the toy became contraband, or in this case, “contrabandz,”” wrote New York Times blogger Tara George.
What do you think? Has this fad gone too far? Should Silly Bandz be banned at school?