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NEW YORK, NY – It seems as though schools are losing sight of their priorities and don’t have better things to do with their time!

Silly Bandz are the latest kids’ craze and are showing up on kids’ arms all across the nation. Silly Bandz are the stretchy, colorful bracelets that retail for $5 per pack of 24. They are a mere accessory for kids who like to express themselves in odd but entertaining trinkets. The bracelets, aside from being popular, have also become contraband. Schools are not feeling the latest craze and have blacklisted Silly Bandz.

“It’s a distraction,” says Jill Wolborsky, a fourth-grade teacher of the son of a furious parent at an elementary school in Raleigh, N.C.

The school commanded kids to leave at home their collections of rubber band-like bracelets. Other states, such as New York, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts have followed suit and banned the novelties.

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 ensue.

“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 Karen White, principal of Snow Rogers Elementary School in Gardendale, Ala.

BCP Imports LLC, the small business in Toledo, Ohio, that’s behind the bracelets, was not expecting Silly Bandz to be such a hit. It has 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 the increasing craze for the bracelets.

“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.