School-Controlled Tool Will Make It Harder Than Ever for Students to Prove Grooming

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It sounds like such a great idea: If kids are being distracted by cell phones in the classroom, put the phones in an impenetrable pouch.

It’s called Yondr — and if you’ve heard about it, it’s probably at a concert venue.

“Yondr creates phone-free spaces for artists, comedians, teachers, organizations and more. The Yondr system is a simple solution to a technological problem that allows you to maintain possession of your phone at all times,” the company states on its website.

“At a phone-free show, artists and audiences can enjoy the performance in the moment and without distraction, creating a better experience for everyone. No cell phones, smart watches, cameras or recording devices are permitted in the performance area.”

If you’re at a show, you’ll be asked to put your phones and other devices into the pouch. The pouch is then locked until the end of the show. This works well enough at phone-free concerts that school officials in Richardson, Texas, want to try it at a venue somewhat less exciting than the Hollywood Bowl, the Apollo or the Grand Ole Opry.

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“Students at Forest Meadow Junior High will pilot using the pouches to lock up phones during the school day,” the Dallas Morning News reported in mid-August. “Officials had wanted to use the pouches to enforce the district’s cell phone ban at secondary schools but scaled back plans after community pushback.”

On the surface, it seems reasonable: “Forest Meadow has about 800 students. Each student will be issued an individual magnet-locked pouch, which is slightly larger than a cellphone,” the Morning News reported.

“At dismissal times each day, students will unlock the pouch at designated areas throughout the school. The phone would then be ready to use. Students who have smartphones to help manage a health condition, such as diabetes, would be able to continue to do so.”

And Richardson is apparently far from alone. Schools in Massachusetts and San Francisco are also using the pouch for students as well, according to the Morning News.

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