Seattle Middle School to Enforce Student Cellphone Lockdowns

A mandatory cellphone locking system will be introduced at a Seattle school from September aimed at advancing academic performance, student engagement, and mental health across the board.

A decrease in bullying is also anticipated to be delivered by the planned “digital de-stress.”

Hamilton International Middle School principal Dr. Eric Marshall approved the plan in an effort to lift the academic environment.

Fox 13 news reports the initiative will use simple canvas pouches as supplied by a company renowned for creating phone-free spaces.

The pouches, which can only be unlocked with a special base at the end of the school day, are reported to allow students to keep their phones in their possession without allowing access and subsequent distractions during school hours.

The Seattle school move follows other efforts across the country to disengage students from their phones during school hours.

A ninth grader places her cellphone in to a phone holder as she enters class at Delta High School, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Delta, Utah. At the rural Utah school, there is a strict policy requiring students to check their phones at the door when entering every class. Each classroom has a cellphone storage unit that looks like an over-the-door shoe bag with three dozen smartphone-sized slots. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) is already planning to introduce legislation that would ban smartphones in schools by January, 2025, as Breitbart News reported.

“We heard from parents that use and abuse of cellphones during the school day is a top concern, and it draws attention away from academics,” said PTSA President Molly Branson-Thayer, according to the Seattle report.

Enforcement of the current “phones away for the day” policy has become increasingly challenging for classroom teachers, added Dr. Marshall, who often spends hours daily dealing with cellphone-related issues.

KIRO 7 reports according to the company that makes the pouches, Yondr, one million students use the pouches each school day, including another in Washington state.

The company claims the schools using its pouches report:

83 percent increase in student engagement in the classroom.
74 percent improvement in student behavior.
65 percent increase in academic performance.

The PTSA will raise funds to pay the one-time fee to enable the program.

“Seattle Public Schools is in an ongoing lawsuit against the companies that own TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat, claiming their social media platforms cause significant harm to students’ social, emotional, and mental health,” the school district said in a news release.

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