Middletown High School students are now being forced to put their cell phones inside a “Yondr”, a magnetically locked pouch, at the start of the school day as part of the district’s efforts to enforce a cellphone ban. At first, some parents may think this is a good idea, especially if their child is somewhat addicted to their phone. However, there are many reasons why the Yondr pouches should not be used in schools.

Middletown School District Superintendent Amy Creeden demonstrates a youndr pouch at a presentation to parents at Presidential Park Elementary School in Middletown, N.Y., on Feb. 7, 2023.

Firstly and most importantly, the cellphone ban is simply an invasion of students’ privacy and property rights. Students may feel uncomfortable giving up control of their personal belongings while at school.

Secondly, Yondr can interfere with communication between students and their families. In case of an emergency, students may need to access their cell phones quickly. Also, students may feel isolated from their peers and teachers without access to their devices.

Thirdly, the process of putting devices in a Yondr pouches and taking them out must be disruptive and time-consuming, creating more distractions in the classroom.

Fourthly, there is no clear evidence that a cellphone ban is even effective in reducing distractions in the classroom or improving student performance. In fact, you can already find workaround online.

Lastly, this appears to be more of an effort by the district to prevent future embarrassing videos such as student fights and Tik-Toks from showing up online. Instead of addressing these issues, it seems the district will rather impose new policies to reduce transparency.

Instead, schools should focus on creating policies that encourage responsible use of technology while still allowing students to maintain their privacy and autonomy.