"Fidget spinner" fad turns into a problem at local school

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- There's a toy spinning out of control across the country and it's causing a stir at some of our schools in the area.

Action News takes a look into the latest craze with “fidget spinners” - the toy kids and parents are fighting to get their hands on for a number of different reasons.

“I could sit here and do it all day,” said local customer David Bamber.

It's the chain reaction to the tiny spinner toys spinning up a huge line of customers at Craft Warehouse.

"I see dollar signs, chaos and kids having fun, so it's a mixed bag," said Craft Warehouse Manager Eric Williams.

Williams estimates the store has sold six to eight thousand of these trinkets in the past two months and the lines are not slowing down.

“We have to run a third cashier to closing shift now and we're actually looking at hiring two more people seasonally just to take over this program once the kids get out of school all because of fidget spinners,” said Williams.

"It's completely amazing there are all kinds of designs: from ones that light up, to ones that have different colors, to everything and it's just a simple little design," said Bamber.

However, it’s this simple little toy that is creating some difficulties in our local schools.

“What I know so far about spinners is that they are complicated,” said Franklin STEM Elementary School Principal Deidre Holmberg.

Holmberg says she's faced with a dilemma - schools typically don't allow toys in the classroom, but kids and parents say this isn’t a toy, it’s an important tool.

Some parents tell Action News objects like these help their children focus in class.

“We're doing a test right now and I'm sad we can't have it out because it helps us concentrate,” said student Angel Ortiz.

Holmberg says all but one teacher at her school have reported something different, saying the toys become more of a distraction for others in the classroom.

“They are quite engaging to students,” said Holmberg. “That being said, what we are wanting them to engage in is school work and thinking. We are not sure that these help and they've shown in this school to hurt.”

Just last week a kid had to seek medical attention after the spinner hit him in the face. Due to this scary incident, Holmberg says, effective immediately, there's no more spinners at her school.

In Kennewick, spinners are also considered toys so they are banned from all classrooms.

Action News reached out to the Richland School District about their policy, but we have not heard back at this time.

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