Kids are facing a new reality when they return from spring break in Torrington on Monday.
Middle school students will have to lock up their phone for the day.
“Kids could focus a lot better without the phones, less of a distraction,” said Ashley Beatrice of Torrington.
“We went from very little enforcement of the cell phone policy at the middle school and high school here in town, especially the middle school, to over and above what’s necessary,” said Michael Mosel of Torrington.
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The key part is pouches from a company called Yondr.
Now when students arrive at school, they can put their phones inside of that special pouch and there will be a device at the entrance to magnetically lock it.
As a student leaves for the day, he or she can unlock the pouch.
The district is among the first in the state to launch this unique way to cut down on cell phone use.
Previously, the Board of Education chairperson said it was a way to take the burden of enforcement off of teachers, as well as cut down on cheating and bullying.
It’s already being used at hundreds of schools nationwide.
“All the schools I’ve talked to, grades have gone up, discipline has gone down, culture in the school has become better. So we are at the place we feel we have to try something. We just can’t keep complaining about cell phones,” Fiona Cappabianca, school board chairperson said in February.
Students who don’t follow the policy can face discipline ranging from having their phone taken to possible suspension or expulsion.
Following the district’s move to rollout pouches, Michael Mosel started an online petition questioning if the $60,000 for the contract could be better spent and calling for change in the board.
Now, he’s joined a task force studying how the pouches would work at the high school and he’s used that spot to make sure his and other parents’ voices are heard.
“We should be using them as a disciplinary action only not in an all-encompassing, everyone wants to do this because of emergency situations, medical situations or otherwise,” said Mosel.
For now, the launch at the high school has been delayed until next year.