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Silly Bandz Banned at Schools

By paulabernstein |

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?

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/melindashelton/4091742414/

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About paulabernstein

paulabernstein

paulabernstein

Paula Bernstein is a freelance writer and social media manager with a background in entertainment journalism. She is also the co-author of Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.

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27 thoughts on “Silly Bandz Banned at Schools

  1. Jenny says:

    Amazingly I see these on my children’s classmates in preschool. I personally think 3 year olds don’t need rubber bands, but what do I know?

    Older kids? We had rubber bracelets when I was in high school. There was some very mild teasing about the colors meaning sexual acts, but nothing serious or out of hand. We didn’t trade them, we didn’t snap them at each other, and they were never banned.

    My guess is that kids need to be told “Stop messing with your braceletes or you can pick them up from me at the end of the school day.” A ban is overkill, just deal with a few students and tne rest will decide to follow the rules.

  2. Marj says:

    It’s just a fad. They become big, they get banned, they become huge, adults start wearing them, kids lose interest. It’ll be something new faster than we think. When I was a kid, we had slap bracelets, tied friendship bracelets, and going way back, plastic chains with plastic charms gotten from gumball machines.

  3. Brandi says:

    I’m 31 & I can remember several fad items that were banned from school grounds in both elementary, middle, & high school — snap bracelets & pogs to name just two. Schools have been doing this forever, what’s the big deal?

  4. Shana says:

    Comments
    Our schools have banned them. They have become too big a distraction and I don’t mind supporting the schools in this since it is hard enough to get the attention of the children in class. I don’t think any child can get hurt with them as they are not shootable like rubber bands. But kids have been hurting each other by snubbing each other or refusing to trade etc. Also there can be heated arguments over the trades already negotiated. My boys are happy to give them away to friends or even children they just met at the playground. I remind them if they are giving them to one that they need to include all the children they are playing with. In my mind a trade is different but if we are gifting I am sensitive about not leaving people out. However, some children use the bandz as a way to laud power over each other. It is interesting to see how something small and fun can turn pretty nasty so quickly.
    Schools banning them…not a problem in my mind. Teachers really wouldn’t ban something if the problem was manageable. In these times of education cuts and low support for teachers, I say let’s give them a break where we can.

  5. Sara says:

    Kids aren’t allowed to have toys at school. If an accessory becomes a toy then it’s not going to be allowed at school. It’s fairly simple.

  6. Alicia says:

    I teach and I think they are annoying. They haven’t been banned, but I have had to take them up several times. They are a distraction, students fight over them, they break, the kid cries.. just goes on and on. I wish we would ban them. I told some kids I was gonna call home and tell the parents not to let them wear them if it continued to be a problem.

  7. hector says:

    silly badz rock

  8. hector says:

    what the fuz about silly bandz why are kids fighting about silly bandz?

  9. Hall Monitor says:

    This story made http://detentionslip.org ! Check it out for all the crazy headlines from our schools.

  10. poohbear says:

    its goin to get old cause old ppl r goin to start to wear thenn cause they wont to be young again

  11. graciela juarez says:

    Comments im a teenage that has silly bandz and my school has bannds and im mad and other kids are too and we keep ask each other WHY ARE THEY DO THIS TO US AND IT’S NOT RIGHT TO DO IS TO US

  12. Irene Sherry says:

    Holy Cow, lighten the heck up!!! I’m 69 years old, and they had fad items back then too. One I remember were trading cards. We traded at lunchtime out in the school yard. Also, baseball cards. The school didn’t ban them. You were told not to take them out in the classroom, if you did the teacher took them away and put them in her desk and you didn’t get them back until the end of the school year. Guess what, if it happened to you or another classmate, the rest followed the rules so their’s wouldn’t be taken away. Stealing them from each other, fighting over them? The teachers handled such things on an individual basis, and those causing the problem were punished, not the whole school. But then that was back when we prayed in school, recited the pledge to the flag daily and were not so politically correct.

  13. Pauline says:

    CommentsI work with children 3-4 and I heard it was a recall on silly bandz and that a little boy died choking on one. I dont think my age group should wear silly bandz because they still put stuff in their mouths. Does any one have any information about the above concerns. So far according to my research these seem safe…not for 3 year olds however

  14. fatisha johnson says:

    silly bandz are kid fun way to show what they like silly bandz are cool and u know it . i go crazy for silly bandz

  15. windsor says:

    Commentsi love silly bandz but, they hurt my hands really, really, bad. kids at my school fight and get distracted. i got over 15 stolen.

  16. abc says:

    Silly Bandz are just a little thing that kids like. it probably would have been uninteresting by now if the teachers hadn’t gone and made such a big deal about it.

  17. Pat says:

    Love the comment from the 69 year old. It is so refreshing to read something that is spelled correctly and uses the language well. You can certainly tell the difference from the younger folks that barely get their message across.

  18. carla says:

    Comments You said that the colored bands indicating sexual behavior hasn’t hit America, boy are you wrong on that one. That was going on when my daughter was in school years ago. She knew what each colored meant. I say they should band the bands knowing what I know. Note if it’s happening in one country you can bet it’s happening here.

  19. MomofLoreleiandCassie says:

    The sex thing was going on when I was in High school so you’re wrong about that one. If they are using them as toys than they should not be allowed during class.

  20. springs says:

    im a Junior in highschool, everybody has them, everybody loves them. I’ve never seen any one fight over them or do things like that. Nor have I heard of any thing being sexual about them. They are just a fun way to express yourself, I guess. People give them to eachother all the time. However I just led a group of 4th graders in a church event and all of the kids had 50 plus on their arms. I didn’t have a problem with any of the kids, they traded and looked at them a lot. So I can see how this could be a problem in elementary schools, but I don’t think they should be banned. I saw several of the kids become friends from giving them to eachother and trading. It is good for them to start relationships with eachother and make friends. This should be handled in a way so that they control the kids who cause the problems so that they aren’t punishing those who are not doing anything wrong and just have fun with them. I do think they should be somewhat contolled however. While they are learning in class they should have some sort of rules for them, but not during lunch or recess.

  21. Karolina says:

    ok i wear the bandz nd im a student at a middle school honostly you see these bandz everywhere and i mean everywere floor,lockers,desks, wrists,necks,aankles,trashcans everywhere i mean i understand why some school would band them cause kids fight over them cause if a peer has one they really like first they might ask for it and if they peer doesnt give it they will try to rip it off there wrist for some people these are a complete annoyance and shouldnt be wore but for the people that wear them they are cool nd “sick” i use to wear the sexual bracelets too until my mom found out about them so then before she said anything i threw it out not that i didnt want her to see but because i got bored of them and one broke nd it was irritating me anyways if the kids rly don’t pay attention to classes and are so worried about these little bracelets then the teacher might as well just take them away but if the student was responsible then they shouldnt have a problem it all lands upon the student and the teachers

  22. Jennaaaaa.(: says:

    in my opinion, silly bandz are the stupidest, most pointless things everr. and im going into 7th grade next year. in my elementary schools and middle school they got banned because they were all over the floor, kids would get hurt, kids would cry, and they would fling them at the teachers while they were trying to teach. one time, this kid james wanted a silly band from my friend shannon, she wouldnt give it to him. && so he started crying and screaming. he even told the teacher that it was “unfair”.

  23. karl says:

    lolz nice comments from da 69 yr old btw dis problem is for little kids like in elementary school so if dey bann dem den ban it from elem. i nevr seen ppl fite over these or anything like dat.

    —————————————————
    i type like dis cuz im not in english class nd i find it faster nd better so if u got a prob f@*k off it aint ur bizz

  24. [...] fiddle with them in classes, plan trades in the classroom, and if a trade goes wrong (which they definitely do) kids aren’t reluctant to fight back for their loss. Playing in class, trading to one another, [...]

  25. [...] help but notice that in the photo accompanying this article, she’s also sporting Silly Bandz, another trendy and problematic [...]

  26. Amber says:

    actually the sexual bracelets were in the u.s they were never really caused a problem but they have been out for about 6 years now I remember I was in 6th grade when they came out…white was virgin black ment sex and so forth but I never knew any1 to “partake” in these acts lol

  27. Megan Calaway says:

    I think it’s dumb how they ban these bracelets in schools. However, if kids are playing with them in class, and they are becoming a distraction to the child and his/her peers, they should be taken away. But why ban the bracelets? It shouldn’t be a problem if they are playing/trading them at recess? I don’t understand how the trading of the bandz could become a conflict though. If kids are trading, the ending results should be fair. (Eatch trader gets a new bracelet.) As far as the “sexual colours” of the bandz go, get a grip! They are kids fashion accessories and toys for crying out loud!

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