📱 NJ schools deal with smartphone attachments

📵 Use of locking pouches increases

🏫 Majority of schools have phone bans


A New Jersey school district’s new way of enforcing its no cell phones during class policy has created buzz, as some students have a tougher time parting with their devices.

Locking pouches that have become a normal part of attending some comedy shows and live concerts have been rolled out in Linden public schools for students.

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As reported by NJ.com, a few of the most tech-attached students were very emotional the first few times they were required to put their phones into Yondr pouches for the school day.

A student petition started in fall 2023 has seen more than 600 signatures of those upset with the locking pouch model.

The pouches were already being used in a handful of NJ schools even before the COVID pandemic.

In 2019, Plainfield joined select schools in Mount Laurel, Newark and Englewood in using the same Yondr brand pouches.

Students keep their devices on them but each phone gets put into a locking pouch for the school day.

Read More: Middle school is latest in NJ to go cell phone free during class 

Linden’s restricted cell phone policy has already been added to the student handbook.

“The use of cellphones is strictly prohibited in the building during the school day.
Any unauthorized use will result in confiscation of the cell phone and subsequent
disciplinary actions.”

The policy adds: “If it is necessary, parents should contact their child through the school’s main office phone number.”

MChe Lee via Unsplash
MChe Lee via Unsplash
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This past fall In Monmouth County, Red Bank Regional High School started its own policy, in which students put cell phones into a front-of-room holder during class, according to CBS New York.

A very similar plan was rolled out in Somerset County at the same time, at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. Students have been required to put their devices in a smartphone “cubby” for the duration of each class, as reported by MyCentralJersey.

Last year, Orlando Weekly reported Florida saw a statewide policy signed into law that restricts students from using cellphones during instructional time.

According to EdWeek, roughly 77% of schools prohibited non-academic use of cell phones or smartphones during school hours during the 2019-20 school year.

The reports cited data from the National Center for Education Statistics — the figure was up from 70% in 2017-18.

Teenage students ignoring each other while using their cell phones at school
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Another factor is parental pushback against such restrictive policies.

As reported by NEA Today, some guardians worry about not being able to reach their children during an emergency, such as a school shooting.

Many educators have said coming back from roughly two years of remote or hybrid learning, students have become more attached to their devices than ever.

Other policies have been based on concerns over specific use of social media during school hours, which feeds into bullying issues that face students nationwide.

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