GREECE, NY (WROC) — Greece’s Central School District School Board passed a measure on Tuesday that would require students to lock their phones during class.
Under the new policy, every student in grades 6 through 12 should put their phone in a Yondr pouch every morning. The magnetically sealed pouches could only be opened by a member of staff with a specialized tool.
Yondr sleeves have been used at concerts and other live events to prevent attendees from capturing photos or videos and sharing them on social media. According to the company’s website, representatives work with schools during a “foundation year” to implement them in districts.
According to a presentation to the school board Tuesday night, Bluetooth technology works through pockets.
The board has heard concerns about students’ ability to call 911 in the event of an emergency at school. Administrators said each classroom has a phone for this purpose.
According to the GCSD Board of Education, the program will cost $98,000 and begin in the 2022-23 school year. Official changes will be made to the District Code of Conduct in August.
In a survey of more than 1,300 Greek teachers, parents and students, a majority said mobile phones are a major distraction and negatively impact classroom learning. Phones – says the district’s Steve Chatterton – cannot be stored in the classroom. Children use them constantly.
“It’s still very, very accessible, it’s still easy to use,” he says.
Chatterton says fights have increased due to cell phone use and children recording them, and the posting of videos with Tik Tok challenges has resulted in serious property damage.
“We lost every bathroom in every high school. We had to replace every toilet paper holder, every towel rack,” he says.
Parents, however, say kids need a way to call 911 in an emergency. A Greek parent said that 99% of students with phones behave well, this plan only serves to hurt everyone.
“…and not punishing those who are good at following school rules,” says one parent.
The board will revisit the initiative in December to decide on next steps.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.