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Obama Academy keeping student phones in locking pouches during school hours

Obama Academy requiring students to keep phones in locking pouches
Obama Academy requiring students to keep phones in locking pouches 01:51

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - In this day and age, all teens are pretty attached to their smartphones and that means distractions with every swipe.

But a new device is helping one local school keep students engaged and attentive in the classroom.

Students at Obama Academy have been required to keep their cell phones in a Yondr locking pouch during school hours.

Administrators at Pittsburgh's Obama Academy were becoming increasingly concerned with what they say is an influx of negative behaviors through the use of social media during school hours which they say created an unsafe environment for the students. They also say kids were distracted by their smartphones in their pockets instead of giving their full attention to classroom instruction.

According to the Obama Academy principal, the Yondr pouch has all but eliminated those threats in mere months.

She says she's seen a decrease in defiance and disrespect.

While parents and students both understand the reasoning for the new policy and applaud its progress, they say they do see a downside as well.

"I would feel much more comfortable knowing that they could get in contact with me right away if they needed me," parent Kathy Pellegrino said.

"If there's an emergency, the pouch can be opened, there's magnets in the nurse's office, there are magnets down here in the main office, there are actual landline phones in every classroom. So if there's an emergency students can call." principal Yalonda Colbert said. 

The pouches have been implemented in several districts in our area this school year, including Penn Hills. The superintendent there said her students are embracing them and calls the results tremendous. 

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