Loom bracelets cause problems at Wallingford School

Loom bracelets cause problems at Wallingford School


Kelsey Thomas, a seventh grade student at Lincoln Middle School in Meriden, shows off her Rainbow Loom bracelts. The bracelets, made of elastic bands, are the latest trend amongst younger students. Students at Yalesville Elementary School in Wallingford were recently banned from making the bracelets in school. | Eric Vo / Record-Journal

As the popularity of Rainbow Loom bracelets grows, one elementary school in Wallingford has banned students from making the bracelets during the school day.

The bracelets consist of colored elastic bands woven together by hand or with a small loom. After the bracelet-making and looms became a distraction, Yalesville Elementary School decided to ban looms, joining a handful of other schools in the region. A school in New York recently prohibited students from bringing the bracelets or looms to school, the New York Post reported last week.

Even without a loom, the bracelets can be made by using your fingers to weave the elastic material. Kelsey Thomas, a seventh-grader at Lincoln Middle School in Meriden, demonstrated Wednesday by using two fingers to stretch the elastic while weaving another strand through it. Repeating the process results in a long strand, which can be made into a bracelet using a clasp.

While Yalesville students aren’t allowed to make the bracelets during school hours, they can still wear them to school, said Wallingford School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo. The ban was put in effect after staff members began noticing “students weren’t being as respectful” to one another, Menzo said. The ban, Menzo added, is not in effect in other schools in Wallingford.

Although her hoodie pocket was full of colored rubber bands, Thomas said the bracelets haven’t been a distraction for her or her classmates in Meriden. She admitted she makes them during class, but added that it was only after work was finished and if the teacher allowed her to. She acknowledged seeing the Rainbow Loom bracelets creating problems with sharing, describing some students with wrists full of the rubber bands who refuse to “give them up.”

Upon hearing about the ban on looms, Wallingford parents took to Facebook to express their opinions. Most said they supported administrators’ decision to ban making bracelets during school hours. In an interview, Dominic Barnes, whose daughter attends Pond Hill School, said he was conflicted over whether he supports the ban.

“I agree on it at least during school time,” he said. “You’re there to learn, not to play or make bracelets.”

However, Barnes, whose nephew attends Yalesville School, said doesn’t agree with banning something because not every student may have it — that “teaches a horrible lesson,” he said.

“Life is not about being fair,” he said. “For a school system to set a rule, ‘Hey, you can’t have that bracelet in school because you’re not sharing with everybody,’ what kind of lesson are we teaching our children?

“The way we’re raising kids, the day they turn 18 and hit the real world, all of a sudden this veil is lifted off them and they walk out of the protective bubble we’ve put them in and smack — welcome to the real world.”

Not all schools are having a problem with the bracelets.

David Levenduski, principal of Benjamin Franklin School in Meriden, said he’s noticed pupils wearing the bracelets in the schools, but it “has not interfered with instruction.”

“As of now, we see the kids wearing them, but it’s not interfering,” he said.

“During unstructured times, like before school, you see kids making them, but it hasn’t crept into classrooms or during instruction.”

Southington School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. said he’s also noticed the bracelets around the wrists of students and teachers, but there haven’t been any issues. In some cases, Erardi said students have created bracelets for teachers, “which is a really nice thing.”

Levenduski said because making the bracelets often involves intricate designs and patterns, it could be used as an “enrichment program” to help students develop their motor skills.

While Rainbow Loom may have created a problem at Yalesville School, Menzo said he wasn’t aware if the trend was equally as problematic in the other schools in Wallingford. The ban isn’t intended to make students angry, Menzo said, but was implemented to help students be respectful.

“It’s just trying to maintain a little bit of order,” he said. “We’re trying to teach respect for all the students.”

evo@record-journal.com (203) 317-2235 Twitter: @EricVoRJ

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