Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Carmel on the Case: Sex Bracelets
Tonight students at a Broward elementary school are being warned -- wear a certain kind of bracelet next Fall and expect to get expelled. It may sound a bit bizarre but its all about a fashion accessory with a possible hidden meaning. Carmel cafiero is "on the case."
(WSVN) --Madonna made multiple rubber bracelets popular back in the 80's.
Today what's old is new again.
From the Olsen twins to Avril Lavigne...
Bands of bracelets are showing up on the stage and in schools.
They're called jelly bracelets.
But there's a dark side to the bright colors.
They're also called sex bracelets.
And innocent kids are getting caught in the middle.
Student: "I just wear them as a fashion statement. I think they're pretty."
We're protecting this 10-year-old girl's identity.
She is a fourth grader at Riverland Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale.
Student: And I was wearing blue just like my cousin. Did you think these meant anything? No.
But students at the school have been warned they will be expelled if they wear jelly bracelets.
And that's just for starters. In some cases, the threats have even gone a step further.
Carmel: And what did she say the boys would think if you wore these bracelets?
Student: That we would get raped.
Carmel: They told you that?
Carmel: And this was the assistant principal?
The student nods, "yes."
According to some - the bracelets can be exchanged for sexual favors.
Different colors mean different kinds of favors from purple for kissing to black for intercourse.
Bobby Jones: "It's ridiculous."
Bobby Jones is raising his little sister.
He thinks the issue should have been raised with parents first.
Bobby Jones: "If you felt like the population of the school needed to be addressed or a certain grade - send a note home."
Jones says school officials inappropriately told his sister - if she wore the bracelets, the boys would consider her a whore.
Carmel: "What did she say?"
Student: "I can't say - it's a bad word. Carmel: It's a bad word..had you heard that word before, did you know what that word meant?"
Bobby Jones: "Now you've put in my ten year old's mind that these bracelets are nasty...they're inappropriate and that there's something wrong with them - and they're not."
But Broward isn't the only place the little bracelets are having a big impact.
Schools from Ohio to New York are dealing with the sexual overtones of the inexpensive jewelry.
A student says: "The pink one means french kiss, the white one means anything, the purple one means hickey."
This 11-year-old was selling the bracelets at a Catholic school in Queens...Until last month.
That's when a local paper ran the story... And she ended up getting kicked out of school.
Student: "If a boy comes over and he kinda like- likes you, it means that if he comes over and he breaks it, it means what - what - you have to do is that sex act."
Meanwhile here at home, the Broward School District says the principal at Riverland is within her authority to ban the bracelets.
Keith Bromery: "You know you get the giggle factor, you know you find the kids passing notes and statements being made. Starts with the teachers who escalate it up to principals who say we need to get rid of this because it's a distraction."
Bobby Jones: "Well suppose they say if you wear a yellow hair ribbon that means something sexual. Are you going to tell them they can't wear yellow hair ribbon?"
There is some thought that all this is more media hype than anything else.
But a web site that specializes in de-bunking urban myths is still "undecided" on if the jelly bracelets are a fashion statement or a signal for sexual availability.
If there's something you think we should investigate give me a call or send an e-mail. We'll get - on the case.
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