Stanhope Elmore High School to lock up students’ cellphones

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 6:18 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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MILLBROOK, Ala. (WSFA) - Technology in the classroom has its place, but educators say cell phones have become a distraction. Now one area high school is come up with a solution. But not everyone is happy with the move.

On Monday, each student at Stanhope Elmore High School will get a Yondr pouch to lock up their cell phones at the start of each school day.

“Our teachers on our building leadership team had some great concerns about instruction in the classroom,” said school Principal Ewell Fuller. “They actually made a statement to me that we either have to choose to be cellphone police or teach class.”

Fuller says the goal is to cut down on distractions in the classroom. He says as they looked at the data, over 80% of office referrals involved a cell phone.

“This is not a punishment. This is an opportunity for you to go in that classroom to get every minute of instruction that you can get from a teacher without the distraction of a cellphone,” said Fuller.

While the school looks at this as a positive, not all parents are on board. Parents like Shirley Dean feel like the school should’ve reached out to parents first. She also feels like locking up the cell phones is a safety issue.

“They need to discuss this with us, and we work together and resolve this issue,” said Shirley Dean.

“If I get that phone call at work, and there’s an active shooter, I’m hoping I get that text that say, ‘Mom, I’m OK,’ not sitting there for 45 minutes to an hour not knowing,” said Dean.

Fuller says there is a landline phone in every classroom. He also pointed out that he met with Millbrook’s mayor and police before implementing the new rule.

“I tell everybody I come in contact, whether it’s new teachers, every teacher meeting, or how to keep the kids in front, and you will never lose,” said Fuller. “What we’re doing here is we’re putting that child’s education ahead of cellphone use. We are putting the teacher back empowered in that classroom to be able to teach the kids what they need to be able to go out and be successful in today’s world.”

Students will be able to use their phones during a 44-minute period during each school day.

This new policy goes into effect on Monday at Stanhope Elmore High School.

Fuller says Stanhope Elmore High School received full support from Elmore County Superintendent Richard Dennis and the school board.

Stanhope Elmore High School is the only school of its size in the Southeast that is currently utilizing Yondr.

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