Newburgh school district enforces cellphone ban with Yondr pouches

The Newburgh Enlarged City School District is taking the next step to enforce their cellphone ban at their high schools this year with a magnetic locking device, called a Yondr Pouch. 
A growing number of districts are cracking down on student cellphone use in school, citing phones and social media as unhealthy distractions from learning. 
The pouches are given to students to put their cellphones in at the start of the school day. When school is over, the pouches are unlocked and the device is released. 
Newburgh Free Academy will begin using them at its north campus Nov. 28 and Newburgh Free Academy Main will begin their use on Dec. 11.  
The schools’ principals issued a joint letter to parents. 
These innovative pouches are designed to promote focus, reduce distractions, and create a more conducive learning environment. Yondr Pouches are a tool that can help students manage their device usage during class time. They are designed to securely store and lock away electronic devices such as smartphones, smart watches, airpods and tablets, allowing students to concentrate on their lessons without the temptation of distractions
The letter continued to say the pouches are expected to increase focus, reduce distractions, promote social interaction, enhance classroom management and encourage responsible device use. 
The Yondr Pouches have been used at Middletown High School since March 2023 and have been subject to mixed reaction from parents. Students were seen standing in long lines outside of the school when they were first implemented, and again, in the gymnasium, in September.  
Parents complained that students were late to class due to long security lines and said the devices were too easy to tamper with and open. Parents said they were uncomfortable not being able to easily contact their students and alleged that the pouches prevent the community from seeing cellphone recordings of what’s going on in the school. 
Other parents said they didn’t care about the lines and agreed with strict policies restricting cellphone use and the use of the pouches. 
The Newburgh school district will hold a meeting for parents about the pouches on Nov. 9 at the NFA Main campus auditorium at 6 p.m.