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Misleading Protest Message Decries 'Ban' on Help For Heroes Armbands

Outline
Circulating protest message decries the "disgusting and un-patriotic" decision of a UK school to ban the wearing of Help for Heroes armbands by pupils after Easter, 2012.



Brief Analysis
The message is misleading, and fundamentally misrepresents the school's policy. In fact, the wearing of jewellery of any sort - including armbands - has always been against the school's rules, but the school has decided to relax the rule and ALLOW the wearing of Help for Heroes Armbands until the Easter 2012 school holidays. Thus, rather than taking the "un-patriotic" decision to summarily ban the bands, the school is in fact allowing and condoning the bands "as a token of support for the sacrifices our armed forces make on our behalf when touring areas of conflict".

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 20th March 2012
First published: 20th March 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by Steve Williamson and Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
RE-POSTED FOR A FRIEND.
BREAKING NEWS:

PLEASE LET THIS GO VIRAL;
HELP FOR HEROES ARMBANDS BANNED;

Please help me by publicizing this disgusting letter I have received from my son’s school.
He has worn the Help 4 Hero’s armband for over 2 years and has never taken it off. Now his school has written to us telling us the pupils will be banned from wearing them after the Easter break and (only allowed to wear them when they say) this is disgusting and un-patriotic and should not be allowed especially in a garrison town where soldiers children actually go to this school and the regiment is due to leave for Afghanistan shortly. Please ask your friends and colleagues to contact the school and tell them how they feel. Here is the schools contact details:
B Found
Principal
Outwood Academy



Detailed Analysis
According to this rather irate protest message, which is circulating via social media and email, Outwood Academy, a school in Ripon, UK has recently let parents know via a letter about a "disgusting and un-patriotic" decision to ban its students from wearing Help for Heroes armbands. The message claims that, after Easter 2012, students will only be allowed to wear the arm bands if and when the school gives permission. The message asks that people contact the school to register their discontent about the proposed ban, especially since the school is in a garrison town and a regiment there is soon to leave for Afghanistan.

Help for Heroes is an organisation designed to support wounded servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. The purchase of Help for Heroes wristbands and other items raises funds for the charity and the bands are often worn proudly by children and adults as a way of showing support for servicemen and women. Thus, the anger expressed in the protest message may seem justified.

However, the protest message fundamentally misunderstands - and thereby misrepresents - what the letter from the school actually says. In fact, the letter - included in full below - informs parents that an existing rule about the wearing of jewellery at the school has been relaxed to ALLOW the wearing of Help for Heroes armbands until the Easter break:
16 March 2012

Dear Parent

As you may be aware a number of our local armed forces are due to be deployed on a tour of duty to Afghanistan in the near future. In order to encourage our students to show support for members of our local community we are allowing students to wear one Help for Heroes band (one only) between now and the Easter holidays. As you will appreciate our rules do not allow jewellery of any sort but we are making an exception as a token of support for the sacrifices our armed forces make on our behalf when touring areas of conflict.

After the Easter holidays bands will no longer be allowed so please ensure your child does not wear them and invite sanctions through our consequences system.

In future there may be other ‘windows’ of support which we will always inform you of. Please do encourage your child to support the Help for Heroes fund, it is important that we as a community show our solidarity in this respect.

May I take this opportunity to wish you a restful Easter holidays and I look forward to seeing many of you in the Summer Term. Yours sincerely

B Found
Principal
Thus, the school is not set to callously and unpatriotically ban the wrist bands as claimed. Quite the opposite, in fact. The school has specifically changed its existing policy to allow the bands as a way of showing support for armed forces personnel. Of course, it could be argued that the school should perhaps exempt the armbands from the list of restricted jewellery permanently. But, that possible argument lends no merit at all to this misleading protest message.

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References
Help for Heroes
Help for Heroes Wrist Wear
Outwood Academy Letter
Outwood Academy - Letters Home

Last updated: 20th March 2012
First published: 20th March 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by Steve Williamson and Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer