Thursday, May 27, 2010

School Is Not The Place For This Kind Of Crap

People need to get out of their heads that schools are the places for children to show off their individuality (by participating in every fad--yes, I see the irony). The taxpayers shell out beaucoup dinero with the expectation that children will go to school to learn something. That which detracts from the learning environment should be removed--and that includes stupid little elastic bands:

The Bandz are now contraband. Schools in several states, including New York, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts, have blacklisted Silly Bandz, those stretchy, colorful bracelets that are creeping up the forearms of school kids across the U.S. And starting this week, all 800-some kids at my son's elementary school in Raleigh, N.C., were commanded to leave at home their collections of rubber band–like bracelets, which retail for about $5 per pack of 24. What could possibly be so insidious about a cheap silicone bracelet?

"It's a distraction," says Jill Wolborsky, a fourth-grade teacher at my son's school, who banned them from her classroom before the principal implemented a schoolwide ban. One student stole some confiscated Bandz from her desk, choosing them over the cash in her drawer.

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.


Anonymous said...

the new fad at my middle school are the thick rubber bracelets (a la lance armstrong livestrong) that say i love boobies. supposedly the money generated by them goes to support breast cancer research, but i find nothing appropriate about 13 and 14 year old boys wearing these to school.

Ellen K said...

It's even a distraction in high school. But frankly, I have bigger dragons to fight.

Unknown said...

I teach elementary science enrichment in 4 schools. Today was my first experience with the distraction of these bracelets. First graders were trading them while I was giving directions for the water cycle activity they were about to do. After explaining that I will confiscate them the classroom teacher admonished them as well and told me she had emailed all the parents this morning that the bracelets would be confiscated if kids are playing with them during class.

I agree that teachers should show no tolerance for this kind of stuff. At minimum, playing with braclets or anything else during lessons is disrespectful to the teacher.

Ellen K said...

And yet just this morning, a parent behind me bought her son two packages of the things. She reminded him that he couldn't take them to school, but how much do you want to bet that's exactly where they end up. I saw this same phenomenon with Pokemon cards, Pogs and slap bracelets. Second graders don't buy these on their own. Parent drive them to the store and do it to make sure their child "fits in" or is "popular." Don't we have better ways of spending our money?

maxutils said...

Oh please . . .every generation has something they take to school to trade and collect. In my school, it was marbles, which everyone carried in clanky, noisy sacks. Somehow, these didn't cause problems in class, because teacher's had the expectation that they wouldn't be used in class, and if they were they were confiscated. Now, we just ban things. My daughter has these, and as stupid as I find them . . . they're freaking bracelets. So, now, we say kids can't wear bracelets to school? and is it only elastic bracelets that are banned? And, how much elastic is too much? Somehow, she's managed to get an education this year despite the vast obstacle presented by these incredible banes to the teaching process. Part of what I want my children to learn in school is how to make good decisions. Banning things like bracelets, or tag, or enacting any of these zero tolerance policies ensures that they don't learn this. All games of physical contact are bad. Bracelets can't beworn because you might not be able to concentrate. How about we let our children develop within parameters that actually make sense, and then reward and punish them appropriately based on their choices? Punch someone in a game of tag, and you get suspended. Pass bracelets back and forth in class, and they become the teacher's . . . or maybe you get to visit the principal, too. Absolutely ridiculous.