They’re the latest craze to hit the schoolyard, but principals are taking a commonsense approach to fidget spinner toys.
The sudden rise in popularity of the spinners caught Warrnambool retailers by surprise, with some stores selling out almost as fast as they can restock.
While the worldwide craze has caused some schools in the US and Australia to ban them from both the classroom and playground, Warrnambool schools who spoke to The Standard say they have no plans to ban them.
Warrnambool Primary School principal Peter Auchettl said there was no specific school policy on fidget spinners and there were no plans to ban them. “Unless something untoward happens, we haven’t got it on our radar to ban them,” Mr Auchettl said.
He said grade five and six students were spoken to at their assembly last week about the fidget spinners and told not to let it become a distraction or stop them doing their school work. They were also discouraged from swapping them.
Unless something untoward happens, we haven’t got it on our radar to ban them.Principal Peter Auchettl
Mr Auchettl said there was an expectation that they were not used in the classroom, but rather in the playground.
He said some children found them therapeutic and cathartic. “We’ve noticed that for some children, it’s a calming influence. It gives them something to focus on,” he said.
Mr Auchettl said there was an increasing number of students with the spinners. “Cast your mind back 30 years ago and it was the yo-yo and hula hoop,” he said.
Allansford Primary School principal Wes Allen said that the fidget spinners started showing up in the playground about two weeks ago and about one third of the student population now had one.
“We knew they were probably going to be a bit of a fad,” Mr Allen said.
He said staff didn’t mind the kids playing with them, but requested they were not played with in class unless there was a special reason for it. Mr Allen said the school was taking a commonsense approach. “We’re not in a banning phase,” he said. Warrnambool Primary School student Cooper Phillpot said he had learnt to do tricks with his fidget spinner. “They’re very, very addictive. That’s what I think. They’re fun to just play with.”