By HANNA DANNAR
As you walk through the hallways of Hays High School and peek into the classrooms you are likely to see at least one student in the school using a fidget spinner.
Fidget spinners exploded in popularity during the 2016 school year according to sophomore Moriah DeBay.
“I haven’t seen as many this year but they are definitely still around,” DeBay said. “I give them until around Christmas this year to remain popular. After that, I don’t think you will see them all that often. They will get replaced by something else.”
While not as many as were in use last year, there are still a few students who say that fidget spinners help with their ADHD, focus and anxiety.
“I think fidget spinners can be of help for people with ADHD, and perhaps some people without ADHD as well,” said psychiatrist Dr. Mark Romerein of High Plains Mental Health. “People with ADHD need an outlet for their restless energy, and when they have that it often makes it easier for them to focus on what they need to be doing.”
Senior Cheyanne Adkins said her mom read an article stating that many schools have banned the use of them completely.
“I don’t think they are enough of a problem to be banned,” senior Sarah Wyse said. “I do believe they could become a distraction like phones are.”
The problem with fidget spinners is that it can become more harmful than helpful, Romerein said.
“A Rubik’s Cube would not be good,” Romerein said. “Good fidgets need to be small, something that can be done with either one or two hands, is used appropriately, and should not make noise, so that it doesn’t disturb others around them.”
It is when fidget spinners are not being used appropriately that fidget spinners start to become problems sophomore Tyler Boomer said.
“When people sit there doing tricks it starts getting annoying,” Boomer said.
DeBay said the only time kids should use them is when they are when they are told to by a professional.
Some kids do actually get recommendations from therapists to use a fidget device.
“I often recommend fidget toys for students, and they are a variety of items that meet the above criteria,” Romerein said.
When this happens, teachers are willing to allow them into their classrooms.
“I am okay with them if you have an individualized learning plan that states you need them,” English teacher Vanessa Schumacher said. “What I don’t like is when kids who don’t need them use them and get them banned for the students who do need them.”
Fidget cubes are another option for kids who want to be able to fidget in class.
“I think fidget cubes are cool, and they probably work better to,” Adkins said. “They seem a lot more interesting than something that just spins around in a circle. I could see myself using those before a fidget spinner. They are getting a little annoying.”
The fidget cubes pose another set of problems.
“Fidget cubes can be useful,” Romereim said. “But they have several switches or buttons that make noise, and I don’t think that is the best thing in a classroom situation, as the repetitive noise can disturb others’ ability to focus.”
One of the big points in the fidget spinner debate is when is it okay to use them.
“The appropriate time to use a fidget would be any time that a person need to focus on something that ordinarily might be difficult for them to maintain their focus on, so long as they have a free hand,” Romereim said. “Band class would not be a good place to use a fidget.”