The mission of the Bethlehem Central School District is built on four core values: academics, character, community and wellness. To ensure the district is delivering on its mission for all students, the high school will increase its efforts to become a cell phone-free environment during the school day.
Beginning in September 2023, students at Bethlehem Central High School in grades 9-12 will be required to place all personal electronic devices (phones, smartwatches, earbuds) in a personal locked Yondr pouch that is kept sealed during the school day with a magnetized locking device. Currently, BCHS students are required to put their phones in a cell phone pocket located in a central location in each classroom.
The Yondr pouch — which is used in an increasing number of schools across the country — has a magnetic locking device that can only be opened using a special unlocking device.
Each student would be assigned a Yondr pouch at the beginning of the school year. With the Yondr pouch, students would be in possession of the devices in their locked pouches throughout the day.
When students enter the high school in the morning, they would turn off their devices and place them in their individual Yondr pouch. The pouch then locks and students can keep it with them all day. At the end of the school day, students are able to unlock the pouch at one of several locations within the building, take out their phone and begin using it again.
Students with documented medical issues (for example, those who use their phones to monitor blood sugar), would be provided with a pouch that secures only with Velcro, rather than a magnetic lock to allow for instant access to their phone.
“After spending more than a year researching Yondr pouches, including outreach to multiple schools, we feel strongly that the use of Yondr at the high school will lead to increased student engagement in school and success in the classroom,” said Superintendent Monroe. “We have been looking for an effective solution to cell phone distractions in the academic environment. We believe the Yondr pouches will eliminate those distractions and improve peer-to-peer relationships and hopefully, the well-being of our students.”
More information about Yondr at BCHS will be shared with students at the high school at grade-level meetings to be held May 23-25. A separate informational meeting with current eighth-grade students will be held at the middle school.
Additional information will be shared with students, staff and parents over the summer and in the first several days of the 2023-24 school year as implementation of Yondr pouches begins at the high school.
Yondr pouches will only be implemented at the high school. Cell phones and personal devices are currently not allowed to be used by students during the day at the middle school or at the elementary schools.