Should schools ban Silly Bandz?

Silly Bandz are all the craze with the kids but they are making teachers just plum crazy. And so principals in multiple states, including New York, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts have banned them.

From Time Magazine:

“Students fiddle with them during class and arrange swaps – trading, say, a bracelet with a mermaid for one with a dragon – when they should be concentrating on schoolwork, teachers say. Sometimes a trade goes bad – kids get buyer’s remorse too – and hard feelings, maybe even scuffles, ensue.”

“That’s what prompted Karen White, principal of Snow Rogers Elementary School in Gardendale, Ala., in October to become one of the first administrators to forbid students their Bandz. “We try not to limit their freedom of expression and what they wear, but when this became a problem, I knew we had to nip it in the bud pretty quickly,” says White, who has since extended an olive branch in the form of monthly Silly Bandz days. (See pictures of a public boarding school in Washington, D.C.)

“Silly Bandz are the latest in a long list of kid-centric fads – in the tradition of Cabbage Patch Kids, Beanie Babies, PokÉmon cards and Crocs. BCP Imports LLC, the small business in Toledo, Ohio, that’s behind the bracelets, was not prepared for the frenzy. It’s increased its workforce from 20 employees to 200 in the past year and just this week added 22 phone lines to keep up with inquiries. The company sells millions of packs a month, and Robert Croak, the president, can still hardly believe it. (He took my call after hanging up with Macy’s, which is interested in creating a Silly Bandz float for its storied Thanksgiving Day parade.) (Comment on this story.)

My 9-year-old says that Silly Banz were banned in our school before they got out but I never heard about it. My 7-year-old confirms kids did get in trouble at our school for trading the Silly Banz.  But I think Smencils caused much more of a commotion. Smelly pencils, or Smencils, would sell out immediately at the school store and they would actually mark on the school calendar when the next shipment was expected. And then kids were sniffing pencils all through class.

So what do you think: Should Silly Bandz be banned?  Are they an educational threat? Have you heard about Smencils? What trendy items are threatening your child’s education?

68 comments Add your comment

Jeff

May 28th, 2010
7:18 am

I think ipods and cell phones are actually the biggest educational threats to the students and the school, but I don’t know what a reasonable answer would be.

Anyone remember the outrage over rubic’s cube in the classroom? Until it rises to that level…………..I say let it run it’s course.

SouthFultonMom

May 28th, 2010
7:44 am

Toys, cell phones, mp3/ipods are all interruptions to learning and should be banned. It’s really that simple.

Andrea

May 28th, 2010
7:56 am

Is the crux of the issue the bands themselves or the child that is playing with them in class? I have seen lots of silly bandz at my kids’ schools and it isn’t a problem. If a child is playing with them instead of learning, then that child should bear the consequences, not the whole school.

Andrea

May 28th, 2010
7:58 am

I agree that Ipods should be banned but I am okay with cell phones. There are so many kids that take their phones to school every day with no problem. I am not a proponent of punishing the masses instead of dealing with the child(ren) that is(are) causing a problem.

motherjanegoose

May 28th, 2010
8:10 am

Is this a problem with an ITEM or a child knowing what to do/not to do with the item?

I always told my students, “If that becomes a toy, it becomes mine.” You can take it home at the end of the day.

Seems to me, there will be items forever. We made little book marks that were woven on straws, when I was small and we swapped those out. That was 40 years ago. Of course, we MADE these ourselves and did not whine to our parents to simply buy them for us, as many kids do today.

I am all about having a learning environment and eliminating distractions. Once, I was in a school that had quilts hung over the windows….to eliminate the distractions of children looking out the window….what? It was dreary. I thought the natural sunlight would be healthy in the classroom but what do I know? Of course, there are classrooms with no windows too…. on the bottom floor.

JoDee

May 28th, 2010
8:20 am

Middle school teacher here—Silly Bandz were big at my school. No big deal……Some students are able to think better and more creatively when their hands are busy. ….sometimes I actually give students small squishy toys like mini-Koosh balls and the like to play with during creative problem-solving lessons.. Some teachers actually kept a wrist full of them and used them as positive reinforcement during those last weeks of school when the kids have checked out” mentally. Move on, folks. Nothing to see here.

Matt

May 28th, 2010
8:20 am

Anyone remember the slap bracelet fad of the early 90’s? I remember those things being all the rage, with everyone trading them in school. Those things were great! I think they ended up getting banned not because of their disruptiveness, but rather because they were deemed a safefy hazard. I think this is a fad like anything else that will fade out over the next year or two. Real focus should be on electronics, with schools developing good school policy to address the issue.

Dennis

May 28th, 2010
8:20 am

Surprisingly, they weren’t banned in our son’s Forsyth County Elementary School.

I remember the fads of my childhood being banned from school: Slap bracelets and Garbage Pail Kids come to mind immediately as being disruptive to the classroom.

Wayne

May 28th, 2010
8:24 am

I talked to my son about it last night as he got his first batch of these things yesterday. His teacher says you can have them, but if you take them off your wrist (or whereever you’re wearing them) they become hers until the next day, when she returns them.

I never heard of them until he mentioned it a couple of days ago. Expensive rubber bands.

DigALittleDeeper

May 28th, 2010
8:29 am

I don’t think a school should have to ban Silly Bandz; the parents should not allow their kids to take certain things to school. I’m a mother and I have been confiscating things from my child that are not school appropriate since 1st grade.

Yes, I’ve seen and heard about them. However, smencils if so in the school, should not be banned. If you don’t want them in school; don’t sell them.

JoDee

May 28th, 2010
8:31 am

Ban iPods? I have used iPods a great deal for learning. I have made podcast recordings of instructions for projects and assignments so the auditory learners and kids with paper organization issues can listen to them again and again. without danger of losing the paper or misinterpreting written directions. I have had students create podcsts for project presentations instead of the ubiquitous PowerPoint. We have used iPods in my classroom to listen to various genres of music around the world….and to analyze song lyrics…and find figurative language and irony in music, and to listen/watch podcasts from the Smithsonian instead of a field trip. If the technology is available, why not use it? I went to a seminar recently highlighting how “smartphones” could be used in the classroom, particularly for collaborative learning. Great stuff, and so motivating for the students—-so much more than paper and pencil, and with better results!

When I went to high school in the 70’s, calculators were banned in math and science classrooms.

MomOf2Girls

May 28th, 2010
8:31 am

Hot item in my girls’ school, and I’m fine with them as long as they don’t disrupt classtime. I think banning them because of the impact of bad training is just one more way to mollycoddle the children and protect them from real life. I think the whole trading aspect of it is a good learning experience. My younger one traded her second monkey, the first one subsequently broke, and she got upset because the girl she traded with won’t trade back. I told her that’s part of making decisions, and she should just look for someone with a monkey to trade with.

MomOf2Girls

May 28th, 2010
8:32 am

bad trading, not training – sorry guys, already in vacation mode for the weekend :-)

FCM

May 28th, 2010
8:34 am

At our school the problem arose from children “swapping” bands only to want their originals back. This created lots of issues–and upset parents in some cases. Especially at the aftercare program. The parent of one child (who happened to be a teacher) went through my childz stuff to find the her child’s “traded” ones. Unfortunately my chold had done another swap and the orignal bandz in the trade were history.

Truthfully I was shocked by that parents behavior. They really missed an opportunity to teach their child what it means when you GIVE away stuff as opposed to share something. Also misseed the boat on teaching responsiblity of ones belongings.

I had told my child to leave her bandz at home. When she came home complaining about the parent/teacher taking her bandz I took a different approach. I pointed out she knew the teacher had said she wanted the bandz back. I pointed out that the teacher had told her if she even saw a bandz she would take them. I pointed out that she had been told leave them at home. Then I told her it was a tough lesson to learn but her bandz were gone. These days that child keeps those bandz locked up in her room when she is not wearing them!

dont ban it adopt it

May 28th, 2010
8:37 am

Banning these will just make it more attractive. To take away the cool factor just get moms, teachers and the school principal to start sporting them and also going gaga over them.

Mike Luckovich Sucks

May 28th, 2010
8:40 am

Oh great, another “banned” item.

Welcome to the USA. We’ll ban rather harmless items & words. We’re also prudes yet one of the biggest consumers of porn in the world.

Ban the Bandz before the Muslims are “offended”!

FCM

May 28th, 2010
8:43 am

Momof2Girls–exactly why aren’t more parents using bad trades as learning time? I totally agree that some parents are mollycoddling the child.

One other thing. My children buy them with their own funds OR they earn them from me by doing small chores–as opposed to large ones.

motherjanegoose

May 28th, 2010
8:47 am

@ FCM…parents today miss a lot of learning opportunities and just want the school to take care of it all. Why do some parentslet their children head to school in clothing that clearly violates the dress code?

Why do we have to even have a dress code…shouldn’t adults know what is appropriate for children to wear, in a learning environment?

Some good parents are still out there and I thank you for being one.

I am whatever you say I am

May 28th, 2010
8:51 am

I don’t think they should be banned unless it leads to fighting.
I would just say they should be prohibited from classrooms and limit the usage to break and lunch times.

FCM

May 28th, 2010
9:02 am

MJG I am being a bad mom today on the dressing of the child. Since we have most things packed when the child insisted on wearing the same shorts as yesterday, well I decided not to fight it and let her.

I agree with you though. My kids often point out what “Susies Mom does” and usually counter with, wow! what a missed opportunity to learn a great lesson…what do you think that lesson could be? At which point I get eye rolls and told MOM!

motherjanegoose

May 28th, 2010
9:06 am

My daughter has lots of friends. One friend’s mother is also in education. I get the,
“you and _____ are just alike…” Then she laughs. We have seen way too many kids and parents to have a naive approach.

Katie

May 28th, 2010
9:15 am

Theresa,

My sisters kids have been wearing silly bands since early November and they live in Athens. They banned them at their school only during testing. The baseball team was also banned for wearing them.

S. got some a few weeks ago and wore them for one week at school until Mrs. J. announced that they were no longer to wear them to school. A couple teachers told me that the kids wanted to trade them all day, and also that someone in the school had stolen several from others…so they were banned.

Now that it is summer, my kids wear them again ( they wore them to church the other day!! hahha). We are spending the weekend at my parents house in the mountains, and my sister JUST emailed me and asked for my kids to bring theirs because her kids want to trade some with them! They enjoy it :)

I agree with banning them from school though.

LG100

May 28th, 2010
9:15 am

Silly Bandz were a distraction for my first graders this year. i quickly established a “if you take them off, they’re mine” policy in my classroom. After taking up a few, it usually only took a look from me to remind students to leave them alone when they were in class. (I did wind up with a nice little collection by the end of the year, which will go in my “treasure box” for next year!)

KAW

May 28th, 2010
9:16 am

My daughter’s kindergarten teacher did ask that the kids not wear them to school because they were a distraction. She did not tell this to the parents, just the kids. The kids listened to her. She is a great teacher and the kids respect her. I can see in kindergarten how the silly banz could be a distractraction.

My older daughter’s second grade teacher did not ban them. Instead, she told the kids that if the silly bandz caused any problems, she would take them away. My daughter decided to keep her silly bandz in her backpack and only get them out during free time to do trades, etc.

Overall, silly bandz are just the latest fad. They will soon fade and there will be another one. As long as the teacher has control of the classroom, the silly bandz should not cause issues with learning.

Drew

May 28th, 2010
9:26 am

I think Silly Bandz are fine in schools. I’m wearing mine right now and are going to wear them too school. THEY’RE NOT THAT BAD!!!!!!!!

Michelle

May 28th, 2010
9:37 am

My little guy’s teacher said they could have them at recess, but during class time, they had to go in the backpack. I can see if the kids are messing with them and distracting others, that it could be a major problem. I think for the younger kids, out of sight…out of mind is probably a better idea! Once they are better at controlling impulsive behavior, it shouldn’t be a problem anymore!

John

May 28th, 2010
9:54 am

This is like banning cars because people are speeding. I wish schools would address the issue of disruptive students and work on mediation policies when there are conflicts instead of another blanket no tolerance policy on the latest fad.

KAW’s daughter’s teacher has the right attitude. Kids can have them, but if you disrupt the classroom you lose them for a day. That sends the right message.

Colbinator

May 28th, 2010
10:03 am

Children at my son’s FC elementary school were allowed to wear 1 as per the principal. Not sure why it was allowed to become an administrative issue. I wish school/classrooms could go back to the old days when so and so was doing something that distracted others so and so felt consequences. As stated above these ‘fads’ can teach kids some awesome lessons.

LydiasDad

May 28th, 2010
10:03 am

Why don’t we focus on bringing discipline back into the classroom, instead of worrying about toys. Discipline would take care of all the other issues.

motherjanegoose

May 28th, 2010
10:10 am

@ John, yes but we have punishments for speeding. Anyone remember my $11 ticket in Fargo ND?
I will creep in that town the next time I am there. Some teachers are already clever enough to come up with a “punishment”. Many parents do not know the word or are afraid of it.

@ Katie….the schools here also have dress codes. I always wonder why teen’s parents allow them to wear clothes TO CHURCH when they are not allowed to wear them to school ( as they violate the dress code) . Some things could be just as distracting in church as they are in school : thong underwear showing out of of the back of low rise jeans and perhaps kids playing with Silly Bandz during the service. Not sure what kind of message this sends. I am hopelessly old fashioned about appropriate behavior and expectations.

motherjanegoose

May 28th, 2010
10:11 am

@ Lydias Dad….because most parents today will NOT buy into it….there are not many mean parents
( like myself) left.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 28th, 2010
10:13 am

We had a topic from late last night about will you boycott BP oil — some of you have seen it but I don’t think everyone realizes it’s there.

BT

May 28th, 2010
10:14 am

I can’t believe you’re a paid writer. What dribble. Take you about 1.5 minutes to crank out this masterpiece?

Elliot Garcia

May 28th, 2010
10:30 am

I invented Silly Bandz and am rich now….Thanks kids!

Sue

May 28th, 2010
10:35 am

Why is this rambling horsesh*t on the main page of the ajc website? No one cares about what your 9 year old or 7 year old says or thinks. Go clean the house and stop playing on the computer.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

May 28th, 2010
11:32 am

@Mike Luckawitz Sucks….we do ban too much….except guns, we’ve got to make sure those are availalbe at all costs, even to those on a terrorist watch list. Wouldn’t want to violate their constitutional rights…..or at least that’s the NRA’s position.

reianne

May 28th, 2010
12:26 pm

i think silly bandz ar awsome and should not be baned. every one should think that! think about it!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3

smh

May 28th, 2010
1:09 pm

My second-grader’s teacher banned them in her room which was fine by me. I wish she had informed the parents as well as the children. As a substitute teacher, I found Silly Bandz a distraction to teaching. I would tell the class, okay to wear them, not okay to play with them or arrange trades during instruction time etc. I definitely took them from students. They ended up in a plastic bag until bus call. Hopefully by the time school resumes in August, the fad will be over.

Warrior Woman

May 28th, 2010
3:41 pm

@LG100 – You stole your students’ property? What gives you the right not to return their property at the end of the day/week/year?

@LydiasDad – You definitely have the right idea. The silly bands aren’t the problem. Wearing them is no different than wearing a bracelet. The problem is the lack of discipline – the unwillingness to control the classroom and make the misbehaving kids settle down. Instead, we make stupid rules for everyone, because it might hurt Johnny’s or Susie’s feelings if we told them to quit playing with their toys in the classroom and get to work.

Stephanie

May 28th, 2010
6:47 pm

My child is in 3rd grade, her teacher wanted to give out the silly bandz as a reward. She gave out three and put the rest in her desk; and after lunch they were stolen out of her desk. Then two boys on the lawn of the school got in a physical fight over those braclets, i think the schools are doing the right thing.

jigsaw

May 28th, 2010
11:39 pm

I think silly bandz are great and should not be banned from any school because they come in many differant shapes and color!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lauren

May 29th, 2010
12:29 pm

Taking silly bandz away at school is stupid! This is exciting for kids! You get to have fun with them. Adults need to try to let it go and maybe enjoy it themselves.

miguel martinez

May 29th, 2010
10:16 pm

noooo it cant be banned theres nothing wrong for trading or wearing it
thats a bad idea for schools to bann them

newblogger

May 30th, 2010
9:38 am

Are we going to ban everything that causes a distraction? Then you might as well take away the textbooks themselves. My fifth graders can get distracted by pictures on pages other than the one we are discussing-if I let them. In my classroom our motto is “if it’s fashion, it’s fine-if it’s a distraction it’s mine”. (Quote taken from a fellow teacher.) If they remember to ask to have it back at the end of class, they can have it. If they forget to ask for it-oh well-I guess it wasn’t that important to them anyway. They weren’t a problem at my school. In fact, some teachers gave them as rewards for reluctant readers, etc. Anything can be a problem if you let it. I think sometimes people ban or forbid things when it’s too much of an inconvenience for them to come up with a reasonable solution. Just my opinion.

REB

May 30th, 2010
3:02 pm

Manage your class teachers and there will not ba any issues. If I tell my child to do something she does it. That includes putting away toys and such.

therese persaud

May 30th, 2010
3:18 pm

Thank you Jo Dee, you have the best ideas . Hope you will stay in teaching and try to influence others in the ways they can be positive instead of punutive and anti-learning ! By the way there are still some who believe COMICS should not come near a reading classroom!!

Andre

May 30th, 2010
7:11 pm

I agree with the first post, cell phones and iPods are the biggest threats to educational institutions. Silly bandz should be the least of the worries of educators.

Meme

May 30th, 2010
8:21 pm

Anything that distracts the student should not be in the classroom.

christine

May 30th, 2010
8:25 pm

It is just a fad and like “Slap Bracelets”,”Smencils”, and all other fads at school this too will eventually pass. If the students are disrupting class, take the bracelets away, my daughter’s middle school would take them away and put them in a “May Box”, they recieved the banz back at the end of the school year in May. I personally believe that cell phones and texting during class should be our biggest concerns not some silly banz (pun intended), when it comes to trading, keep it till lunch time or bus time, it is really not that diffulcult to figure out.

Courtney

May 30th, 2010
9:01 pm

Kids are kids. Let them play.