TES pulls plug on

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 2, 1999

Pokémon invasion


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Dec. 1, 1999 10 PM

The Pokémons may be the hottest Christmas items among school-age children and younger, but Troy Elementary School teachers and the administration have closed the schools’ doors on them to stop the invasion.

Geoffrey Spann, principal at Troy Elementary School, has concerns about the trouble Pokémon can bring because they are so popular among the students at his school. He said he felt like it was in the best interest of the schools for the Pokémons to be left at home.

"Anytime there is anything that is a craze like Pokémons we discourage the students from bringing it to school," Spann said. "We don’t want to say Pokémons are banned, but they just don’t need to be brought to school."

The biggest question plaguing the minds of many adults is what exactly is a Pokémon?

A Pokémon is the general name given to cartoon-like creatures who live in the Pokémon Universe. Pokémon are the stars of video games for Game Boy Color and Nintendo 64, trading card games, cartoons and now have taken over the big screen in The First Movie.

Like last year’s Furbies, about 150 different Pokémon characters have taken over the Christmas market for young children and top many Christmas lists. But departments stores are not the only places which have benefitted from the Pokémon fad. Fast food restuarants and movie theaters have also jumped on the bandwagon.

As the Pokémons take over the planet starting with the entertainment industry, the value of the cartoon creatures’ toys and trading cards steadily increases. The increase in the Pokémons is one of the things that concerns Spann, and helped him make the decision to turn them away at the school doors.

"Children like to share their Pokémons with each other," said Spann. "They sometimes lose them or think they have been taken and it just causes problems. The first or second time we heard someone say they lost their Pokémon or it was stolen, we knew we had to do something.

"Plus some of the trading cards are gold plated and have become very valuable. We have had to do with them like we have other trading cards and ask the students to leave them at home."

Even though Furbies were rated the top toy by many chidren last year, Spann said he did not see near as many Furbies as he has seen Pokémons this year.

"It is probably because the students didn’t bring Furbies to school because they were larger," Spann said. "Year before last there were a lot of Giga pets and we asked that they not be brought to school either. They were obnoxious because everytime they went off you had to feed them."

Troy City Schools Superintendent Hank Jones said the Troy City School Board has not done anything as far as banning the Pokémons from the schools.

"To my knowledge it has not been a problem," Jones said. "We have not done anything from a board angle. I am not sure what Mr. Spann has done, but banning them is not a bad idea."

Although the creatures from the Pokémon Universe will not be welcome at Troy Elementary School, chances are they will still be on the Christmas list of many children. But unlike Furbies, so far there has not been a shortage of the creatures at the Troy Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Rick Mosher, a manager at the Troy store, said Wal-Mart still has the Pokémon toys for parents who haven’t done their Christmas shopping yet.

"There is a big demand for Pokémon but it’s nothing like the Furbies from last year," Mosher said. "The only one we have run out of is the big one."