Teachers are squirming over fidget spinners

By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Updated:

Fidgeting in class has taken on a new meaning, and teachers don’t like it.

Fidget spinners are toys with a ball bearing in the middle with three prongs, USA Today reported. Hold the spinner with your thumb and forefinger, and then spin it by tapping one of the prongs.

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Kids love them — but schools are rapidly becoming a no spin zone for the toys because they are becoming a distraction, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“Frankly, we've found the fidgets were having the opposite effect of what they advertise," Kate Ellison, a principal of Washington Elementary School in Evanston, Ill., told the Tribune.

Schools in other states, including Minnesota and Massachusetts, also have banned fidget spinners.

“We found that early on they were a distraction to learning, because kids were pulling them out of their pockets,” John McDonald, assistant principal at Delano Elementary School in Minnesota, told the Star-Tribune.

In Hawaii, teachers are telling students to leave the toys at home. David Gaudi, head of school at Saint Mark Lutheran School in Kaneohe, told Hawaii News Now that the fidget spinners were causing noisy, disruptive classrooms.

"So it was the teachers who approached me with the issue of it being a major distraction," Gaudi said. "We did hear about a lot of arguing over the fidget spinners."

Experts say fidget spinners can help children with ADHD and autism, Hawaii News Now reported.

“A fidget spinner helps gives kids focus,” said Jessica Wong-Sumida, executive director of the Hawaii Autism Society. “It gives them something to do while they are listening to the teacher. It really gets them to concentrate.”

While some educators agree, they also claim that fidget spinners are a distraction.

“It's a tool. We recognize that. But it's also a toy,” Matt Barbini, deputy superintendent of an Illinois school district, told the Daily Herald. “Some students may very well require a fidget or sensory device as part of an individual plan, so we can't ban it ... but if it disrupts instruction, or creates an unsafe environment, we need to act responsibly.”

Exasperated teachers can be found condemning the fidget spinners on Twitter under the hashtag #teacherproblems.

 

Fidget spinners.
Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group

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