Loom Bands AND Men? It’s Just Too Scary Out There!

Here are two stories sent in by a reader across the pond named James. The first illustrates how if someone bad happens to any child anywhere ever, we should ALL hear about it! And be warned! Even if it happened once in a million trillion times:

PARENTS are being warned to be cautious over the latest craze of loom bands.

The warning comes as a seven-year-old boy was left temporarily blind in one eye by one of the brightly coloured plastic bands.

And other children have alarmed parents by wrapping them so tightly they have cut off circulation to fingers.

The second story goes on at ungodly length about some children encountering what sounds like a drunk guy on the way to school:

A HULL primary school teacher is urging parents to be vigilant following reports of a strange man approaching children.

Thoresby Primary School headteacher Melissa Milner has written a letter to parents after two of her pupils were approached by a man close to the west Hull school earlier this week.

The letter states: “Unfortunately, on the way to school, two of our children passed a man in the tenfoot who was drinking.

“He asked the children their names.”

Can you imagine? Their NAMES? That’s practically violating them. And so, of course,  the kids  immediately reported this as an incident of stranger danger, and the school not only immediately issued a warning to any and all families, but also changed its entire afternoon dismissal procedure.

So remember: Be afraid of everything, plan for doom, fear the worst and you are doing your job as a parent, a school, and a society. Stay scared! — L.

Yiiiiiiiikes!

Yiiiiiiiikes!

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33 Responses to Loom Bands AND Men? It’s Just Too Scary Out There!

  1. Kimberly Herbert July 13, 2014 at 2:13 am #

    The loom band thing. I had a couple of boys wrap them so tightly they did cut off circulation. I gave them 1 warning to be responsible. I told the class, if they decided not to be responsible I would take a picture of their hand before and after I cut off the band, and include that in the text/e-mail/note* home. The text/e-mail/note home would explain why that child couldn’t wear them for a week.

    Oddly enough it never happened again.

    Please Note – It was a total pay attention to me and stop class tactic from these two boys.

    the text/e-mail/note home thing was based on how the parent asked to be contacted.

  2. SJH July 13, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    I can understand the students reporting the incident with the drunk guy. If a drunk approached me and asked my name, I would feel a little uncomfortable and want someone to know. But it sounds like an overreaction on the adults’ part for sure!

  3. Sara July 13, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    Considering that there have been other kids who were approached this way recently, I actually don’t think this is overreacting. Grooming is a very real danger, unfortunately, and I think it’s important for kids to know about it and act appropriately (which these kids did). And even though this is most likely not about grooming at all, I wouldn’t want some random drunk dude talking to my kids, asking their names etc. I wouldn’t want some random drunk dude talking to *me*, either.

    The loom bands, well, that doesn’t come off all panicky to me, it’s just common sense.

  4. Jill July 13, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    Good grief! People need to get a grip. Loom bands are just the latest novelty to come down the pike that kids can injure themselves with, causing adults to freak out and panic like the world is coming to an end.
    Kids have been messing around with things and hurting themselves since the dawn of time. It’s usually due to a mixture of boredom and curiosity, with a dash of sadism/masochism thrown in.
    Slap bracelets (ironically invented by a teacher) were the toys that were considered to be a horrible threat to children back when my son was in elementary school in the 1990s. They were made of flexible steel, covered with thin, colorful cloth, and you slapped them on your wrist to form them into a cuff-type bracelet. Or you slapped them on your friend’s wrist REALLY HARD, to see him or her flinch. Sometimes the steel edge was sharp and kids got cut. No one was exsanguinated, but panic spread across the land,and soon there were warnings sent home that slap bracelets were very, very dangerous.
    The same kind of thing is going on with loom bands.
    Curiously, I don’t remember this kind of panic over the toys called “clackers” that my friends and I used to play with when I was in elementary school. They were similar to nunchucks, the martial arts weapon, and they could do some damage if you whacked somebody with them, as my friends and I occasionally did, just for fun. If a teacher caught us playing with clackers, they were confiscated, and that’s it. There were no letters sent home, and no widespread panic.
    Unless children are given safety goggles, and allowed to play only with marshmallows and cotton balls, they’re going to hurt themselves. It’s part of being a kid.

  5. Buffy July 13, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Setting aside the assertion that grooming is a “real” danger that we constantly have to be on the lookout for, grooming is *not* done by a guy who is already drunk in the morning when children are walking to school.

  6. Jill July 13, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    As for the drunk guy, I don’t see how he could possibly have been attempting to “groom” the kids. What, was he going to hang around the tenfoot every day (I have no idea what a tenfoot is) and somehow worm his way into their confidence by dancing and asking their names?
    I just don’t see it. There are people in the world who act strangely but are no threat to anyone. This guy seemed to be one of them.

  7. Edward July 13, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    I groom kids to be honest.
    I groom kids to be responsible.
    I groom kids to be trustworthy.
    I groom kids to be hard workers.
    What do you know…grooming is everywhere.

  8. anonymous mom July 13, 2014 at 8:06 am #

    Yeah, I’m not seeing any danger with the drunk guy. Maybe annoying, but not threatening. What exactly do people think he intends to do? If he were following or threatening the kids, that would be another story.

    We had a story around me a few months ago about a man who was driving down the street and stopped to ask a teen girl (who was like 15 or 16, so he may have had no idea she was underage at all) on her way to school if she wanted a ride. She said no, and he drove away. Apparently, that was enough to cause a panic, although I cannot fathom why. If he had continued to follow her, or had threatened her, or had otherwise done anything at all to indicate that he had nefarious intentions, then I could understand some level of concern. But if he simply drove away when she declined a ride, what’s the danger and what’s the harm?

    A man approaching a child, even if drunk and even if asking their name, is not threatening. If he were offering them alcohol or trying to get them to go somewhere with him, then *that* would be cause for concern.

  9. Karen July 13, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    As is often the case, here the kids acted fairly normally, but it’s the adults who went crazy. As a kid, if I’d been approached by a drunk dude on my way into elementary school, I admit, it probably would have freaked me out a bit. Chatting with random drunk strangers was not a normal part of my life. I could see me telling an adult about it. But here’s where the adults had an opportunity to deal with it in a normal, non-crazy, not overly paranoid way, but failed to do so. They changed their entire dismissal procedure???

    Did it not occur to them to maybe politely ask drunk dude to move along and find another spot to yell incoherently? In my experience with the homeless, wandering (insert PC term here) that’s really all one needs to do. I literally had a guy following me around downtown one day clearly drunk, trying to talk to me. Eventually, I just turned around, looked him square in the face and said calmly, but firmly, “please turn back. I do not wish to speak with you.” Guess what? He did. No horror story to tell. No chasing me or assaulting me. No mugging me. He just walked off. Hard for many people to believe these days, but most people really aren’t criminals/murderers/perverts.

  10. Michelle July 13, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    Anybody else reminded of the drunk in To Kill A Mockingbird? The adults in that story just said, “That’s just his way,” and expected the kids to leave him alone.

    Of course, there’s also Tanya Tucker’s 1973 song, What’s Your Mama’s Name, about a man who is imprisoned and has his life ruined because he asks a little girl about her mother. He was looking for a daughter he’d never met. I don’t know if that represents a change between 1960 and 1973, or different communities, or what.

  11. katie July 13, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    Instead of trying to ban and warn about all these bizzare random things has anyone ever decided it would make sense to spend time focusing on what is actually dangerous such as SUVs.

  12. Warren July 13, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Love all the assumptions. Drinking does not always equal drunk.
    He may have been, but it’s not a given.
    For all we know he could have kids himself, and was just being nice.

  13. Beth July 13, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    Oh yes Katie, it would certainly make so much MORE sense for schools to try to legislate what kind of vehicle their parents choose to buy and drive.

  14. Maggie July 13, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Our group had a weekly park day. Occasionally there were drunks at the park. Identifying and learning how to deal with drunks is part of life, rather like learning to look both ways when crossing the street.

    Alcohol is legal, and in my personal experience I’ve had teachers who drank, classmates who drank, co-workers who drank, bosses who drank, and ran into drunks in a variety of public places, including the park, library, restaurants, on the street, and GASP in bars.

    The fact the kids knew he was drinking means they probably were aware of alcohol abuse and knew they needed to avoid him. Not much worry he is “grooming” kids.

  15. Warren July 13, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    Katie am going to the store later. Which vehicle should I take? The 1ton diesel dually pickup, the 3/4ton gas pickup, the SUV, or my 67 Pontiac that gets about 7 to 8 mpg?

  16. J.T. Wenting July 13, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    Warren, you should be “environmentally responsible” and take the bus to go to the Toyota dealer and order a Prius, lol.

    SUVs are dangerous the way most people drive them. The idiots turn them into unguided rockets, safe behind the tons of steel that keep them safe from anything they end up crashing into (and often don’t even notice).

  17. anonymous mom July 13, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    @Warren, if this man had been drinking enough that children on their way to school noticed, I’d assume he was drunk. That doesn’t make him a “predator” or a danger, though.

  18. Jill July 13, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    In 1950-51 the Gilbert toy company, the folks who brought us the Erector Set, sold something for kids called the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab. It was…kinda dangerous. As in, “Oh, look! Bobby’s glowing in the dark!”
    Loom bands are small potatoes compared to the Gilbert U-238.

  19. bmommyx2 July 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    LOL

  20. Amanda Matthews July 13, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    @anonymous mom if the guy had a beer in his hand and was taking drinks from it, the kids would realize he was drinking (presumably, these kids can read and therefore can see the difference between a beer and a soda/pop). He doesn’t have to be drunk for them to notice.

  21. katie July 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    @Beth Actually it would make sense for schools to just ban parents from driving their kids to the door of the school and require them to walk, ride a bicycle or take the bus. The whole idea that kids need to be driven to school is stupid. And SUVs should be regulated more because statistically they are dangerous.

  22. hancock July 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Why don’t we just ban children from schools. They are in danger going to school from rampants drunks and pedophiles. They are in danger after school from drivers, getting lost, and kidnappers on every corner. They are in danger in school from peanuts, pop tarts, level two look-alike fire arms (finger guns), and psychotic shooters. School obviously represents a serious threat to children’s safety and well being, so the obvious solution is to shut them all down, keep children wrapped in bubble wrap, and locked in padded, sanitary closets at home.

    Sarcasm aside, what happened to just telling the drunk to move on?

  23. hineata July 13, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    Gosh, rubber bands in eyes, drunk men asking for names….the world is a frightening place!

    I am surprised, though, Lenore, that you haven’t reported on another menace to children…well, maybe more to teens, especially boys, though all the teens in my household have been affected. I refer, of course, to Le Bron James.

    The last week mind power and discussion has been focussed not on homework, world peace or even on vitals like who my son is going to ask to his school ball, but on Le Bron’s return or not to Cleveland (“at least we’re not Detroit!”). Boy was actually awake at 8 a.m.(!) on Saturday, receiving the vital signal that James was indeed going home to resuscitate Cleveland’s economy.

    So this week teens around the world can breathe a sigh of relief. But what happens when Le Bron retires?! Oh, the horror!

    What can we do, Lenore, to save our precious children from this fast-approaching danger?…!

  24. lollipoplover July 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    My daughter used her rainbow loom to make a slingshot (with a stick) for her brother’s birthday present. Shoots pretty far too!
    Seriously though these things should cone with a warning: I broke the vacuum sucking up these f#$king little bands. I hate toys with small parts. My last vacuum was killed sucking up Polly pocket parts. Please, please warn the parents of the danger!!

  25. no rest for the weary July 14, 2014 at 12:29 am #

    Sometimes co-parenting comes in so handy: the Rainbow Loom stays at the other house. I can’t be bothered with all those little rubber bands everyone. Looks like an orthodontist office exploded.

    Learning how to walk away from someone who is creepy to you is one of life’s most important skills. Learn it young. There’s no avoiding it. And learning to run away from someone who actually means you harm is a good thing to know as well. Teach kids to vote with their feet if they’re in a situation that feels “wrong” to them, whether the person gives chase or not.

    The very idea of trying to sanitize the world so no young kid ever has to feel creeped out or walk away from someone without answering… sheesh.

  26. Dirk July 14, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Reminds me of pin attacks, poisoned candy, satanic music, devil worshiper abuse, slap bands, those shirts that change color when you touch them, gel bracelets, rainbow parties, pill parties, eyeball shots, the punch out game and whatever moral panic people older than me have seen fit to worry about and force upon the world through the media. Ugh. If the cops aren’t seeing one real report of it in your state every year then it isn’t true.

  27. Dirk July 14, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    Dungeons & Dragons. I forgot how a board game played by kids and adults who might not be that athletic or social and who it is nice to have something they can do with other people and have fun at it leads to going to hell or whatever. Double ugh.

  28. derfel cadarn July 14, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    We are now being advised to fear and avoid string yarn rope and rubber bands, where does the insanity end ? My grandmother was a big knitter, picture this scenario a swat team arrives fully automatic weapons at the ready, announcing to put the yarn down and step away from the knitting needles. The folks advocating against these bracelets(string) need to seek professional help immediately.

  29. Joanne July 14, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    So these panicking parents never in their lives wrapped thread around their finger just to see what would happen? I know I did more than once as a kid. I thought it was so cool. (And now I just did it as an adult to remind me what I liked about it. It does lose something after over 30 years.)

  30. E July 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    The article IS quite long/detailed about the drinking guy, but I have no problem with it. It also mentions there had be some other ‘incidents’ in the area…sometimes info can be good.

    It’s certainly not my favorite thing to chat with people under the influence and I certainly wouldn’t want to be approached by someone drinking in the morning on a sidewalk to my school — I think it’s fair that children don’t either.

    Given that someone made the choice to drink in the morning, I’m not going to put a ton of faith in their judgement ability and would prefer not to encounter them (props for not driving I suppose). Same would go for my kids. I imagine I’d share/compare stories if my kids had encountered that.

  31. John M July 15, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    My kids have the loom bands and haven’t had any problems but ya know not everyone has enough common sense to not wrap them too tightly around their fingers. A little reminder might not be such a bad thing. Joanne mentions doing the same with string however string can be unwrapped. Rubber bands (depending on how long they are left on) may need to be cut off, not always an easy task.

  32. Emily July 15, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    About the loom bands story, the DAY after it ran, I was at a mall (which, incidentally, sells loom bands), and, in one of the clusters of gumball/candy/toy machines, I saw a machine that sold rubber band shooters. So, a news story about the “dangerous loom bands that could blind someone if shot,” was directly followed by my sighting of devices specifically designed FOR shooting rubber bands. I don’t know how to post the picture here, but I posted it on Lenore’s Facebook page.

  33. Earth.W July 15, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    Kids are so afraid today. Raised to be mentally ill.