Published Online: September 24, 1997


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Cyber pests

Nano pets, nano babies, virtual pets, cyber toys, or Tamagotchi--whichever name you use, these battery-operated toys are keeping children preoccupied.

The idea behind the toys is that they have to be tended to, in order to avoid dying a virtual "death." Each computerized toy beeps to alert the owner when it needs to be held, changed, or fed. That means pupils across the country are taking their cyber toys to school to care for during the day.

In the eyes of at least one principal, the toys have become cyber pests.

Last spring, Principal Carl Persis banned the toy from the Tomoka Elementary School in Ormond Beach, Fla. "The main problem with having the toys at school was the distraction they caused in the classroom," he explained in a recent interview.

Mr. Persis held an assembly to inform students that the toys would not be allowed in school. "It boggles my mind that parents allow their kids to take these toys to school," parent Sherry Graffagnino said in an interview.

Short skirted

After failing to skirt a new student dress code, cheerleaders at one Texas high school have been told to keep their uniforms under wraps until game time.

The dress policy, passed last spring by Burleson High School's board of trustees, mandates that the hem of a skirt or pair of shorts must reach a student's fingertips when the student is standing upright. Because the cheerleaders' uniform skirts are too short to meet the requirement, they have been unable to carry on the tradition of wearing their complete outfits to school on game days.

The cheerleaders and their parents are upset by the new policy because they were initially told it would not affect them, said Jeanie Gilbert, the coach of the cheerleading squad at the Fort Worth-area high school.

But Ann Rose, a trustee who voted in favor of the dress code, said the board did not intend to exclude the cheerleaders, but that they were simply following the recommendations of a committee that analyzed the dress code.


PHOTO: Computerized pets have become cyber pests at school.
--Benjamin Tice Smith

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