You Can Ban The Bracelets, But You Can't Ban The Issues Behind Them

A middle school in Colorado has banned all jelly bracelets, as administrators fear that students are wearing them in order to participate in the infamous "snap" games, wherein bracelets are allegedly used to represent certain sexual acts.

The middle school bracelet panic has been going on for some time now (I swear this story comes out ever year, with no definitive proof that kids are actually playing this game), and though administrators tell the New York Times that "it's turned out that a lot of the kids, especially the girls, wear them as fashion statements, and some were adamant they didn't have any connotation," they insist that some students were heard discussing the bracelets and the "snap" game that accompanies them, and so the school banned them as a means to keep the fad—and, presumably, the activities that accompany it—out of the school.

But taking bracelets away from students, even from those who are using them for some kind of weird sex game, does nothing to actually address the real fears administrators have. Instead of banning the bracelets, perhaps an open conversation about sexuality—the kind we apparently are not allowed to have in public schools—would serve them better.

I graduated high school in 1999; after Columbine happened, administrators banned all trenchcoats, and started keeping a close eye on any student who had the slightest trace of goth in their wardrobe. It was frustrating and humiliating for many of my classmates, who actually had to say things like, "It's just a cool coat, I don't want to blow up the school," in order to defend themselves.

The panic that strikes adults when stories of lurid or violent behavior break out amongst teens and tweens often causes them to do the easiest thing possible: remove all evidence of such things from the hallways. But no one benefits from hiding the problem, and kids aren't going to stop having sex or being psychopaths like Eric Harris simply because you take their stylistic choices away. The bracelets may be gone, but the issues still remain. The administrators may not be able to see it, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

School Bans Bracelet Used In Sex Game [NYTimes]