Banned Bracelets: The Dark Side of Trendy Jewelry

We understand why schools ban certain items: certain books are taboo due to controversial content that some parents may find objectionable (although we feel it’s a bit silly to ban certain books…*cough cough* Harry Potter *cough cough*), and weapons are forbidden for their obvious threat to student/staff safety. But did you know that some schools have banned several different types of bracelets over the years? We’re not kidding! Whatever your feelings may be regarding these bracelet bans, there’s one thing we can all agree on: when we hear of jewelry being banned from school premises, our first thought is, “Really, guys? Really?”

Slap Bracelets photo courtesy of doyouremember.com

Slap Bracelets photo courtesy of doyouremember.com

Slap Bracelets
Toward the end of 1990, an American brand of slap bracelets called Slap Wraps had become super popular kids’ toys. Unfortunately, “cheap, imported versions” soon faced “bans and investigations nationwide following parents’ complaints” that the flimsy bracelets were “slicing into children’s fingers and arms.” (www.philly.com) Unlike Slap Wraps, which were “made of pliable stainless steel covered with a double-knit polyester fabric designed to hold strong even after repeated flicks against an arm,” the shoddy imitation bracelets were “made so poorly that the metal inside them [could] easily cut through” the fabric casings and, subsequently, slice up the wearers’ skin. After getting a bad wrap (pun intended) for many years, slap bracelets have been making a comeback, both as trouser clips worn on the lower legs of cyclists to prevent trousers from being tangled in the chain, and as baton replacements during long distance relay races. (www.wikipedia.org)

Photo courtesy of Quentin Roux for naplesnews.com.

Photo courtesy of Quentin Roux for naplesnews.com.

Silly Bandz
A few years ago, in 2010, Silly Bandz were THE hot wearable, trade-able trend of the year. Silly Bandz were colorful rubber bands that, when worn on the wrist, just looked like squiggly plastic bracelets. However, once removed, the bands would spring back to their original forms, which ranged from dinosaurs, to sea creatures, to rock & roll instruments, letters, numbers, and more. Parents, kids, and teachers all agreed (at first) that the inexpensive, funny little bands were great learning tools as well as fun accessories — what kid doesn’t love wearing their favorite color/animal/shape? However, teachers’ patience with Silly Bandz soon wore thin. As one teacher said, “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…Sometimes a trade goes bad — kids get buyer’s remorse too — and hard feelings, maybe even scuffles, ensue.” (www.time.com) Silly Bandz were soon banned in most schools. However, one Gardendale, Alabama principal decided to extend an olive branch in the form of monthly Silly Bandz days; school staff didn’t have to tolerate the Silly Bandz hysteria on a daily basis, and kids still had the opportunity to enjoy, wear, and trade their treasured bracelets.

Photo courtesy of Blake Facey for huffingtonpost.com

Photo courtesy of Blake Facey for huffingtonpost.com

Rainbow Loom Bracelets
If you haven’t heard of this current trend, be sure to read this recent Yahoo article. Not only are Rainbow Loom bracelets as colorful as Silly Bandz (as well as a great unisex accessory), but kids actually have to create the bracelets from scratch using teeny, tiny rubber bands and a special loom. As Adrienne Burke wrote on Yahoo.com, “In an age when many parents wonder if too much time spent in front of screens is impairing kids’ ability to focus, the popularity of a manual toy that requires concentration and creativity has captured widespread attention.” The bracelets have definitely caught the attention of teachers at two public schools in New York, who complained that kids “were weaving bracelets when teachers’ backs were turned,” making the bracelets and the looms real nuisances, earning them places on the schools’ banned items list. Parents feel this is a shame, since the kids are “using so many skills they actually should be using in school.” (www.huffingtonpost.com)

What do you think about schools banning bracelets like the ones mentioned above? Do you feel school officials have handled these situations appropriately? Would you do anything differently? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
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One thought on “Banned Bracelets: The Dark Side of Trendy Jewelry

  1. I like the compromise solution for Silly Bandz, but my sympathies are with the teachers on the issue. There are so many pressures on teachers already that I can understand why they would go straight to banning bracelets and bracelet making in class.

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