New school year, new discussion on fidget spinners in class

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. --  Fidget spinners were the craze last school year and the infatuation didn't die down over the summer. There are divided opinions on whether the toys are a helpful tool or a distraction device for students, and local school leaders discussed how to best handle their use in class.

Some school systems in the country use fidget spinners as an educational tool or to promote calm and focused learning. Others banned the toys, calling them a distraction. They started out as tools to help students with attention deficit disorders and then they turned into a craze.

Many northeast Alabama school leaders say there isn't a big issue with the toys in class. Marshall County Schools Superintendent Cindy Wigley says the district does not have a written policy regarding fidget spinners.

"We will handle the issue on a case by case basis, just like with many other things, on an individual basis, and if it becomes an issue we will address it then," Wigley said.

Wigley continued to say they will take the individual needs of the student into account, since the initial goal of the gadgets was meant to help with attention deficit disorders.

School leaders say they also have to ensure the trinkets don't become a distraction during class. "Two of the most important things we do in education is protect our kids and protect instructional time," Wigley said.

She added it's simply a matter of drawing the distinction between a tool aimed at getting students to focus and a toy. "So as with other situations within our school system, we'll handle it on an individual basis as needed."

The majority of other school systems in Marshall, DeKalb, and Jackson counties also handle them on a case by case basis.

Wigley says if the gadget is something a child needs within their educational plan, the parent of that child can work with the school to incorporate it into their child's work. That too, will be handled on an individual basis.