DELMAR – BCHS has proposed locking away cell phones for the school day to curb phone use and encourage student social interaction.
Starting the 2023-2024 school year, BCHS will partner with Yondr to implement this measure. Yondr, established in 2014, has created pouches that magnetically lock and unlock to hold phones and other personal items. These pouches have been implemented in other schools and at comedy and music events. “For the last three years, district administrators and building leaders have been working to find the most effective way to reduce student cell phone use at the high school,” according to the district website. “In 2021-22, the high school introduced classroom sleeves for students to store their cell phones. In spring 2022, the district began to look at Yondr as a better solution to meet the needs of students.”
The use of Yondr for the upcoming school year will cost the district an annual fee of $26,773. According to the district website, the costs include 1,400 pouches, one for every high school student, accessories including unlocking bases, replacement pouches, any product upgrades, a year of customer service, and other costs associated with implementation. Yondr staff will be at the high school the first week of September to assist with the start of use.
At the start of the school day, students will be required to lock their phones in their assigned Yondr pouches. The pouches will remain in the student’s possession at all times. The end of the school day for BCHS students is 2:07 p.m. At that time, all students are allowed to unlock their phones from the pouches using the unlocking bases stationed around the school.
If a student stays after school for any sport, club, or extracurricular activity, their phones will still be able to be unlocked at 2:07 p.m. In the same way, if a student has an approved early dismissal, they are allowed to unlock their phones prior to the end of the school day. However, if the student returns back to campus, they must relock their phones into their pouches.
There are no plans to integrate Yondr usage through elementary and middle school levels. This is due to the K-8 policy that all cell phones or personal devices be kept at home, in a locker or bookbag at all times.
Administrators said the main motivation for the use of the pouches is to cut down on distractions, limit online bullying, and increase social interaction among students during down times. The access to social media allows for anonymous and large amounts of bullying. Students also fall back on social media in their down times rather than interacting with their peers. By locking the phones away this upcoming school year, the district hopes to increase the peer interaction and decrease the bullying for BCHS students.
If parents have more questions, the district will update the Yondr FAQ as the implementation begins at the start of the 2023-24 school year on the district website. Parents can also email [email protected].