Cape City Council does not approve program to silence phones in class

Reporter: Corey Lazar
Published: Updated:
“Yonder” pouch could help lock up smartphones to cut down on distractions in class. Photo: WINK News.

City Council voted Monday not to approve a new technology to end cell phone distraction in school.

The decision was not approved 6-0, according to a spokesperson for the City of Cape Coral.

Oasis Middle School in Cape Coral could be one of the first schools in Southwest Florida to use a new magnetic pouch to regulate the use of cell phones in the classroom.

While phones may be your child’s lifeline to family and others during the school day, phones also hinder learning.

A new pilot program aims to keep phones within reach, but keep them quiet.

Kasie Wis, a parent of three kids and math teacher at Oasis says phones are a problem for students who are trying to focus.

“This is the biggest distractor in the classroom — the cell phone,” said Wise.

Wise says parents are the biggest offenders when it comes to texting kids in school.

“What they want from the grocery store or hey you have a dismissal change.”

To try to silence the dings and vibrations of smartphones in class, students will starting using a magnetic pouch system called “Yonder” that locks their smartphones up while they are focusing in the classroom.

“They will come in to the room, they will each have a pouch assigned to them, they simply insert the phone in to the pouch.”

Students will take the pouch with them during the school day and at the end of the day, they snap their pouch on a base magnet to unlock their phones.

The district hopes this will improve student test scores and encourage sharper learning and engagement.

The program is getting push-back from some parents who are voicing their concerns online.

“Some parents are going to say, ‘I need to communicate with my child during an emergency.’ But you say you have a plan for that, said Principal Donnie Hopper.

Hopper says for a short lock down like when police are searching for someone outside the school, students will most likely get access to their phones.

“We have to distinguish between what is a real emergency and what is not.”

But during a situation like an active shooter, the phones will stay locked.

“That is what we want to do — protect the environment, make sure the kids are safe, locked down properly,” said Hopper.

WINK News reporter Brooke Shafer asked if more Southwest Floirda schools will follow this trend? Watch the full segment below:

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