Local schools clamping down on fidget gadgets

WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Fidget gadgets are in high demand right now. The devices spin, click, and twirl, and they’re billed as a way to help both kids and adults focus.

However, some local schools are telling parents to have their kids leave them at home.

The fidget cube and hand spinner are two products in a now-crowded field of tools some say can help people, kids in particular, focus, but some schools are saying parents should check in before their kids bring them to class.

At Amberly Elementary in Portage, Principal Mary Daoust says her school provides kids with all the tools they might need to focus.

A clay-like substance to hold, special desks that allow students to stand, and chairs for fifth graders who don’t want to sit still.

Principal Daoust says she supports all the newest tools allowing students to focus, even providing the latest in fidget gadgets recommended by neurologists.

But, at the same time, she sent an email to parents saying in part; “students are to leave all toys at home. This includes fidget cubes and fidget spinners. If you feel your child has a specific need requiring a fidget to be used as a tool, please contact his or her teacher.”

Principal Daoust says that the fidget cubes and spinners click, switch, and spin, they make noise and she prefers her school’s fidget gadgets instead.

“All of our fidgets are tools to help you learn better,” said Principal Daoust, “to help you pay attention, to raise your academic achievement, and not to distract from that.”

But noisy or not, a few miles away at B&G Discount, the fidgets in question are flying off the shelves, a surprise hit according to manager Eric Gowen, who tells Newschannel 3 that he’s been getting shipments of the devices every two days and estimates he’s sold ten to fifteen thousand of them in two weeks.

Gowen says some of the customers have children with Attention Deficit Disorder, while others have been teachers.

“From elementary schools all the way up to high schools coming in and buying them,” said Gowen.

Back at Amberly Elementary, Principal Daoust is sticking with what she describes as less distracting fidget products.

“If there is a need for it, we’re more than happy to work with parents and provide the fidgets, special needs diagnosis or not,” said Principal Daoust. “We want the students to do the best in the classroom.”

While Principal Daoust is clamping down on some of the noisier fidget products, she’s very supportive of the idea of sensory needs of students and says it’s not pseudoscience, in some cases it really helps.