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New Jersey high school requires students to turn in cellphones during classes

Red Bank Regional High School enacts new cellphone policy for students
Red Bank Regional High School enacts new cellphone policy for students 02:08

RED BANK, N.J. -- A local high school is taking on cellphones -- the distractions and even the distress they can cause -- by implementing a new policy for the school year.

At Red Bank Regional High School, all students have to leave their phones inside what educators call a "cellphone hotel" during class.

The new policy is the brainchild of English teacher Cassandra Dorn, who experimented with a pilot program in her classroom last year after realizing the devices had become a distraction.

"School-wide, we were having trouble. Students would take their phones and go to the restroom and spend time in the halls texting, really just less engaged in the whole business of school," Dorn said.

The concept is pretty simple. Students place their cellphones in a holder as they enter class, and they're assigned a number throughout the year.

"The key thing is the phones are available in the event of a personal emergency or if the building issue required access to phones, we would be able to access the phones right there," said Louis Moore, superintendent of Red Bank Regional Schools.

The new initiative has gotten mixed reaction from parents and students.

"My biggest concern would be if there was an emergency, that they wouldn't have their phone available to let anybody know that there was one. Then again, would they have time to get to their phone?" parent Susanna Marra said.

"I think the teachers, they give you a little bit at the end of class to go on it and give you breaks, so it doesn't really matter to me," student Gianna Marra said.

"I think it's excellent. I'm really excited for the kids to just be able to connect when they're in class and have it away from them so they can focus on their teachers," another parent said.

"For me, I rarely use my phone at all, so it's pretty all right for me, but other people say no," student Matthew Jimenez added.

READ MOREJuvenile faces additional charge in bullying attack on New Jersey student Adriana Kuch

This past spring at another high school, 14-year-old Adriana Kuch took her own life after her father told CBS New York disturbing video of her being attacked at school was posted on social media.

Red Bank Regional High School's principal, Julius Clark, said he took a survey and teachers were all for students stowing away their cellphones while in class.

"We're in this together and I'm given them reason why -- to address mental health, bullying issues, but primarily to stay focused within the class, to stay engaged within the classroom," Clark said.

The principal pointed out it's not a cellphone ban and that students still have access to their phones during lunch and at study hall.

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