Have All Schools Banned Fidget Spinners?

by Cat Bowen

You've undoubtedly heard of fidget spinners if you're a parent — the little three-spoked toy that you spin between your thumb and forefinger is the latest craze at home and in school. Your kids might want to show off all their tricks in class, but some kids find that fidget spinners can help them focus and pay more attention, too. Despite the benefits, there's a lot of talk about how distracting the gadget is. So have all schools banned fidget spinners?

The fidget spinner is a really new phenomenon — the oldest YouTube video for it is just a few months old, yet there are nearly 1.6 million videos on YouTube already. Let that sink in — 1.6 million. Imagine the entire population of Philadelphia. Now imagine they'd all made fidget spinner videos — that's how many there are. Strangely enough, even though the craze is just a few months old, there are even pro-fidgeters.

My kids have several, and they love them. My son plays with his while he does his math homework. He says it helps him focus, and I'm inclined to believe him.

But schools are rapidly banning the little toy. My children's school in Brooklyn, New York sent out a message telling parents they will be confiscated if found on a student. My son, who is on the spectrum and has an individualized education protocol (IEP), which allows fidget gadgets and accommodations, is still not allowed to bring it to class. But if nothing is explicitly sent home with your child, is it possible to find out if your school has banned fidget spinners in class or at recess?

The simplest answer is to assume that they are not allowed. Meaning, don't send it in with your child until you get verification of their permitted use. The best way to do that is to contact the school directly, but also make sure to be in touch with your child's teacher, as they might not allow it in their classroom, specifically.

Why the ban? Other than the distracting nature of children with new toys that can do tricks, kids have actually gotten hurt using them, because they are weighted, and they do spin rather quickly. When you combine that with kids who want to get up-close-and-personal with their toy, someone, somewhere, is getting a bloody lip or knocked noggin, and schools do try to limit the amount of injuries sustained there.

You may have to tell your kids to leave it at home. Heck, you may have to search their backpacks to make sure they left it at home, at least until the teacher says it's alright. If your child uses fidget spinners to help cope with focus or anxiety issues, it's worth having a meeting with your child's teachers and school to see if an arrangement can be made.