We received several tips this afternoon that an email has been circulating around some public schools that says beads have been banned. Students are allegedly no longer allowed to wear them because gangs are using them as identifiers. Below is an email one parent at PS 334 on the Upper West Side got:

Dear Parents,

Our periodic building-wide safety meeting took place recently. All the building’s principals met with our School Safety Agents about various school safety issues. We were asked to inform all Anderson parents of the following safety recommendations and procedures.


Beads are no longer allowed to be worn at school. The NYPD has informed us that gangs are now using beaded jewelry to identify their gangs. Do not let your child attract unwanted attention by wearing beads!

Gangs have long used similar pieces of attire to identify themselves (with some gang members even indoctrinating their children from very early on). We called the NYPD, who said they knew nothing about it, and hung up on us. We talked to Margie Feinberg at the Department of Education, who said that she was not familiar with the particular email, and that there was "no system-wide ban on beads." However, she added that Principals do have the discretion to ban wearing gang apparel in their schools.