Thursday, May 27, 2010

Silly Bandz Being Banned in Public Schools

I tried finding a free photo of the Bandz but resorted to an Amazon picture when I could not find one.

As a freelance writer I have seen several requests for stories about the Bandz products. I have not yet seen the craze emerge among my relatives and friends' children so perhaps we have just escaped this particular marketing frenzy. I never took the assignments because I just could not imagine what to write 400+ words about these items. As with most crazes they found a niche that appealed to children and it took off.

The problem is not the item in schools. The behaviors that result from them are the issue. The bracelets used as intended are harmless. However, they can become a huge problem when they become a marketable item in school. We have found this with trading cards and other toys over the years. Children like the interaction with friends, but like all capitalistic systems, trading is not regulated to guarantee fairness. Children can be cheated or just have regrets after trading away a favorite band. This creates discipline problems. Parents often expect schools to regulate these markets. Teachers and schools are not designed to be a toy stock market exchange.

If you have ever watched these situations get ugly among parents you can sympathize with administrators and teachers who move to shut down the free market trading in classrooms. This is not what children are sent to school to do or what teachers and administrators are paid to do by taxpayers.

The distractions that arise as children play with these toys, taunt each other with new acquisitions, and then expect teachers and administrators to protect property rights just makes an already challenging job, more difficult. It is just easier to leave the toys at home and have kids trade under parental supervision. Leave the parents to determine what kind of market they want their children to participate in and how to handle it when deals go bad. There is no way administrators and teachers are going to make a plan that will keep parents from complaining their children are not being exploited by other kids.

The best choice would be not be to ban the items, but for parents to support the law of natural consequences. Students who fool around with Silly Bandz in school can no longer wear them in school. Those who are responsible and do not create problems by playing with them during class get to wear them. Unfortunately, our society has deemed this policy discriminatory. I would also support the law of natural consequences for trading. The school does not support trading of Silly Bandz in school. Any child that gets involved with trading of Bandz will not be punished, but will suffer the consequences of trades that go bad. Any behaviors resulting from bad trades will not be justified because a student was cheated. Students were warned that trading could result in cheating. Now they have to learn to handle the consequences. This is an early lesson in buyer beware. I would also be clear that these things can be stolen when students do not secure them and teachers are not going to be responsible for property that is lost. If students risk their Silly Bandz by bringing them to school, the parents willingly took that risk by allowing the behavior. While the school does not condone or support stealing, they are not going to spend hours investigating Silly Bandz thefts either.

If parents still want to allow children to wear the Silly Bandz to school under those conditions, then it would be their choice. The students would learn about risk, reward, and consequences of their actions and choices. Bans do little to teach children, they just contain a problem to allow teachers to continue forward when parents do not want to deal with the consequences of children's actions.

There are more important things you want your teachers to be focused on then Bandz trading regulations.

No comments:

Post a Comment