CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — A first-of-its-kind proposal in Western Massachusetts aims to silence cell phones in the classroom. Chicopee High School principal Carol Kruser said Tuesday she is responding to calls from teachers as students are still adjusting to in-person learning amid the pandemic.
Kruser told us that teachers asked him to do something about the distraction of cellphones in the classroom. Now she has a plan and a lot of people are talking about it.
“Yes, it is radical. Yeah, it’s a huge change, but I’m really doing it to help the kids, not as a punishment,” Kruser explained.
Students at Chicopee High School may soon have their cell phones locked away during the school day and it’s getting mixed reactions.
“Students have to be careful at school. We’re not building million-dollar schools so they can go there and play with their cell phones,” said William Martin of Springfield.
Jesamei Gutierrez, a high school student from Chicopee, added, “If they don’t want to give out their phone regularly in class, then what makes them think they’re going to put it in a pouch and lock it up? “
With the help of Yondr, a California-based company, students would each receive a pouch to magnetically lock their phone to school.
We sat down with Kruser to find out how it works.
“They would come in, they would show the admin their phone was off, they would put it in the pocket, and then the magnet would lock it,” Kruser noted.
Kruser said there are schools in the Boston area using the technology, but Chicopee would be the first to bring it to western Massachusetts. She told Western Mass News that the school already had a policy that cell phones should be put away during the day, but it’s been difficult to enforce with students reacclimating to in-person learning.
“We’ve seen it here already this year, all these TikTok challenges, and they can’t get away from it…so I wish they could just get away from it for a little while and refocus,” Kruser added.
However, how would parents get in touch with their children if the school was closed or in the event of an emergency?
“If there was such a big emergency, they would cut the signal,” Kruser noted.
Kruser added that keeping parents informed is already the top priority in this situation.
“The very first thing we do as a district is make sure we tell parents as much as possible, as soon as possible,” Kruser said.
Some students have told us that it might take a bit of conviction to disconnect from the day.
“If it comes down to this, I’ll give them my phone as long as I know I have it, then that’s fine, but I feel like not many kids will feel the way I feel,” Angelina said. Holguin, senior of Chicopee High.
Kruser also told me that students who need their phones during the school day for medical reasons will receive Velcro pouches, and even teachers will be on board, receiving their own Velcro pouches. The proposal will be on the agenda for the next school committee meeting.
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