In what may be the first such instance in the nation, LaVerne Middle School in Evanston, IL has banned students from bringing so-called "selfie sticks" to school with them.
The devices are usually three to five feet long, with a handle at one end and a clip or other attachment to hold a cameraphone or GoPro (video camera).
"They're like half-size fishing rods," said Laverne AP Joe Schmesterhaus.
Their basic function is to help users take better "sellfies," extending the length between the camera lens and the person taking the picture. Some telescope for greater ease and portability.
The issue began as a mere distraction this fall when some students started using the sticks to take pictures or video of themselves going to and from school, walking to class, and having lunch, then uploading the images to Instagram, Snapchat, or other social media platforms.
It got much worse following the Winter Break, when many more students received or purchased the selfie sticks as gifts, and began jostling and rough-housing with them in the halls and in class. Some of the younger teachers also began bringing them to class.
The last straw, according to school board member Mary Lee Smiley, was a lunchtime melee the Tuesday after MLK Day Weekend when several students fought using the sticks as weapons, while others documented the event on their own devices.
"Schools always look bad when they ban things," said Smiley. "With any luck this is just a short-term solution until we figure out something more constructive."
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