Pencils and Crayons to be Banned in Schools

A new law coming into force later this month will require students to check in their pencils and crayons at the office and collect them after school.  Any children caught with pencils or crayons in their possession will have then confiscated and parents will be informed.

“We’ve had enough,” said one teacher, “kids are writing notes to each other in class. It’s distracting for us all.  Besides that, they spend too much time sharpening them when they could be working.”

There have been many reports of children using their pencils to “poke” each other and there have even been arguments about who owns which pencil.

“They’ll have someone’s eye out one day.  It’s only a matter of time before something serious happens,” commented a parent who favours the all out ban.  “Better to ban them all rather than risk an accident – they can be really sharp.”

In some cases pencils have been used by pupils to record their ideas and learning, but they’ve also created problems with their inappropriate use in class.  The introduction of new “coloured” pencils means that children are being tempted to create ever more creative work and the notes passed around now include garish illustrations.

One parent explained his opinion. “Chalk and slate was good enough for us, black and white and easy to read, not a confusing multicoloured mess.  You couldn’t pass notes around without the teacher noticing and the chalk couldn’t be sharpened into a dangerous point.  The greatest danger was that you’d drop it on your foot.  I’d like chalk to remain the teachers’ main tool (along with talk). Let’s keep it at the centre of learning.”

A few teachers are not convinced that the ban is the best policy.  They worry about the effect it might have on student engagement and motivation.

“As soon as they get out of school kids are writing, drawing and passing notes around.  I think by banning the pencil and crayon we risk alienating students and making their time at school seem irrelevant to their lives.”

“Used in the correct way they are powerful learning tools, students (and teachers) need to be trained in their proper classroom use.”

“It seems ridiculous to exclude something that is so readily available outside school and widely integrated into all aspects of our modern society.  They are exposed to these modern implements from an early age and most children use them on a daily basis.  To take them away is erasing educational opportunities.”

No one can argue with the fact that a sharpened pencil can cause injury and that something must be done.  It’s too soon to determine the outcome of the ban.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

P.S. There is a rumour that something called a “ballpoint pen” is beginning to gain popularity among teens.  How will schools cope with this new permanent menace?  At least pencils can be erased with the right equipment.


image by orangeacid at Flickr

9 Responses

  1. LOL!! Very clever!! Will share this with staff and parents next time someone asks why? with all this technology.

  2. You may laugh… A few years ago I was running a school camp out at Riversdale, in the Wairarapa. We were heading out to the riverbank to sketch what we could see -a walk of around 200m along a grass verge. Year 7/8 kids were carrying clipboards, A4 paper and pencils.

    “Stop!!!” wailed a mother. We did. “You can’t let them carry their pencils -they might trip and stab themselves!” She was distraught.

    After some totally unsuccessful negotiation, to actually let the activity go ahead I finally collected all the pencils, carried them myself in a plastic bag and gave them out at the riverbank. And had to repeat the process on the return journey.

    Dangerous things, pencils.

  3. A very clever analogy! I will have to use this for discussion at our next Web 2 Community meeting – many thanks! 😀

  4. Now that is a very clever piece of writing – will see what the ch’n make of it too – might spark some interesting discussions
    needed a giggle too!

  5. It is funny until you think how true it is. Reminds me of the students in the USA who are paying for a drug Store to mindtheir phones while they attend school; where they are not allowed them.When will we get over ourselves on this one. Perhaps the iphone and nokia n900 will make this undeniable. We will probably still ban the less powerful, devices. I see this as a mechanism to protect the incapable and inept. Sure some issues need to be worked out but they aret he same ones that have always existed in the main part. Let the innovators get on with it. nice analogy Michael thanks.

  6. This is a joke right? Banning pencils and crayons because it is too distracting? Don’t we learn any behaviour management skills as teachers anymore?

  7. Perhaps this should be published on 1st April.

    Of course, there was outrage when slateboards went out of fashion and in came pencils and, heaven forbid, ball-point pens.

  8. […] addresses using the positives of using twitter in the classroow!  Another one of my favorites is Pencils and Crayons to be Banned in Schools- I suggest you make a pdf of this post and leave it in all sorts of places, to be read by those […]

  9. Hello, my name is Danielle and I am reading your blog posts for Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class. Wow! Banning pencils and crayons in schools, I am speechless! I guess we have to protect our children from anything and everything that may endanger them. The only thing is is that everything in life could endanger them or someone else, the only solution would be for everyone to be in a giant bubble. On that note, please come by and visit our class blog at and I will also be making a post on my blog about everything that I read on your blog. You may visit my personal blog at Thank you!

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