Fidget spinner backlash is growing at schools across the US.
The small gadgets, which you can twirl between your fingers, have become an omnipresent part of adolescent life across the US seemingly overnight.
Now, schools are fighting back against the gadgets some say are distracting and potentially harmful.
According to fidget spinner database SpinnerList, 32% of the top 200 American high schools — the 100 largest private and 100 largest public schools, according to Department of Education data — have banned spinners from the premises, or plan to ban the toy by the end of the week.
“When I first heard that fidget spinners were starting to get banned in schools across the country last week, I was shocked,” Alexi Roy, the founder of SpinnerList who contacted the 200 schools, wrote. “I am a big fan of spinners, and I was sceptical that this could really be happening. Are schools really banning these toys, or is the media telling us bulls—?”
The media was, in fact, not telling the public “bulls—.”
Costing as little as a couple of dollars, fidget spinners were originally intended to help ease symptoms of ADHD and anxiety. Now, in states from Kentucky to New York to California have banned the toy from classrooms.
“Although seemingly harmless, these items are being taken out during class, causing a distraction to students and staff,” Brooklyn, New York school MS 442 wrote on Facebook post in late April. “They are also being thrown around during transition in the hallways to and from class, in the cafeteria, and at recess. They are small in size, but can seriously hurt someone.”
While MS 442 banned the fidget spinners from school premises, the school said that it would keep spinners on hand for children with sensory issues.
Beyond disruption, teachers have another reason to hate the toys — they can get extraordinarily annoying, extremely quickly.
“The only thing my students seem to focus on, however, is the spinner, itself, and not their work. It’s like a friggin’ siren song,” Cristina Bolusi Zawacki recently wrote in “Working Mother.”
“Let’s stop with the flowery euphemisms. It’s a toy and I hate it. I actually have a visceral reaction when they emerge from a pencil case or pocket, like a sadistic version of Pavlov’s bell experiment.”
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