Cellphone ban security check-in at Middletown H.S. causing up to hourlong lines, parents say
Parents in Middletown say a controversial cellphone ban is continuing to cause major problems at the high school this year, including long security lines for students trying to get to class.
The district began enforcing a no cellphone policy during school hours last March. Shortly after, high school students were first seen standing in long lines outside of the school at the start of the day prompting parent complaints.
“They had the whole summer to prepare and absolutely nothing has changed,” says district parent Connie Quinones.
Middletown uses a magnetic lock pouch, Yondr, to hold students' cellphones. The cellphones are put inside it at the start of the day, and it unlocks when school finishes.
Quinones says the district moved the check-in process into the gymnasium this year after students were previously seen photographed standing on long lines outside of the school. News 12 has since obtained new photos and videos of students standing in long lines that wrap around the perimeter of the gym.
“There’s a bag check line, a Yondr line and a metal detector. We don’t have any problem with going through the metal detector. We know that’s a safety thing, but this whole issue didn’t start until the Yondr pouches became in place,” says Quinones.
Quinones says the pouches are ineffective because students know how to open them and showed News 12 a Tiktok of one student banging the pouch to open it.
“They bang the phone on the floor or wherever they need to bang it and the pouch opens,” says Quinones.
Several parents have also reached out to News 12 with similar concerns. They say kids are being marked absent due to the long security lines at check-in, which is impacting their grades.
The Middletown School District says students late to class because of the security process are marked with an excused absence. She says that no student grades have been impacted and they're working through a few "minor shifts" to decrease the student security lines.
"There is a specific window of time when it’s 'high traffic' due to multiple intersecting items - including, but not limited to, many parent drop offs at 7:20-7:30," said Superintendent Amy Creeden.
Creeden says the cellphone ban has a lot of parent support and is a huge success, and that multiple parent/guardian sessions have been held to discuss the policy, including one Wednesday night.