Silly Bandz Bracelet Craze: School Ban Over Distraction

[deleted account] ( 11 moms have responded )

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.

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.)

Croak got inspired about three years ago at a product show in China, where a Japanese artist had devised a rubber band cute enough to escape the trash bin. Though Silly Bandz have been out for two years, they began catching on a year ago - Alabama was an early adopter, as were New Jersey and Tennessee. They're just now gaining traction in California and Texas. (See where jewelry is fitting into green designs for 2010.)

"They're getting banned because kids play with them so much," says Croak, who maintains they're the right product at the right time, a cost-conscious trinket in tough economic times that can even be a learning tool for little ones, kind of like flexible flash cards.

His company receives about 500 fan letters a week. One, signed by a 10-year-old named Logan Librett and a few of his friends in New Rochelle, N.Y., suggested a way to circumvent all the bothersome Silly Bandz restrictions: "Some schools in New York have banned them, but we have ideas that might change that ... clear silly bands that teachers can't see and only glow in the dark."

Just in case the company bites, Librett offered his address. He's still waiting.

News video about silly bands...very interesting to know what kids are traing for these...kind of scary!

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Amber - posted on 06/02/2010




This was on the "Today" show today. They said that kids need to "leave the recreation at home".

The counter argument was that you shouldn't "suck all the fun out of childhood". And they said that it's the parent and teachers responsibility to teach kids how to focus and behave in class. They also said that the schools could use it to their advantage because they come in shapes, numbers, and letters.

I think that's probably the better idea. Teach the kids how to behave with them, but don't ban them. If they can't behave, take them away. That will show the other kids that they need to behave with theirs and will teach all of them a valuable lesson about work vs play time.

Use them for a lesson, don't ban them. That only makes kids want them so much more and makes an issue out of it.

Emma - posted on 06/01/2010




I went through my Goth stage and had lots of the black ones on both arms in high school i doubt many kids would of be stupid enough to brake anything of mine back then or expect anything other than a swift kick to the nuts from a pissed off Goth in steal toe caped boots......LOL
I think it must be a click thing :-)

[deleted account]

Loureen...yes I just posted another topic on those bands just a few minutes ago...these are a different kind that thus far have no secret meaning...I thought they were those coded bands when I read the title to the article.

Charlie - posted on 05/27/2010




When i was in highschool those bands had secret codes , pink was a kissing band , blue was a groping band ect . the worst ones were the black ones they were called fuck bands , if someone happened to break one you had to do whatever color it was , as far as i know here the kids still call them fuck bands , these have been around for years !

[deleted account]

I work at an elementary school in rural ks and haven't seen these silly bandz yet...who knows what will happen in the fall when schools starts again.

Marsha - posted on 05/27/2010




this is interesting since we live in tennessee and silly bands r very popular with my 2 girls! they go to a private school and silly bands haven't been band but they can't wear them at the gynmastic classes bc the girls were getting distracted by seeing what each person had on their arms LOL i don't think any public schools around the nashville area has banned them as of yet

[deleted account]

When I first read this story I thought they were those bands that the kids used to wear to show off what sex acts they do...I was wrong but I thought the topic was still interesting.

Sherri - posted on 05/27/2010




They are the rage at my kids school and there are no problems that I am aware of. The only problem I have is if you get to many they begin to cut off the circulation in the kids arms.

[deleted account]

As a former teacher, I can see how things like this easily become a distraction. But I disagree with banning them. It's all about how you manage your classroom. Kids should be expected to show responsibility. If they are not being responsible, the silly bandz can be confiscated for a day or week or whatever. When given back, if they become a distraction again, they can be banned for THAT student, not the WHOLE school. I hate punishing the group for the misbehavior of one or two.

Just a quick semi-related story: The P.E. teachers at my school started using speed stacking cups on rainy/cold days when they couldn't go outside. Many of the kids bought their own to use during P.E. I was fine with them if they stayed in their booksack or cubby until P.E. or recess. I caught two students using them during center time so I confiscated them. I called their parents and told the parents they had to come to the school to pick them up if they wanted their kids to have them. One parent was there that very day. The other said, "just keep them for a while to teach her a lesson. I'll get them when I have some free time later." LOVED that parent!

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