GREECE, N.Y. (WROC) — The Greece Central School District Board of Education passed a measure Tuesday which would force students to lock up their phones during class.

Under the new policy, every student in grades 6 through 12 would have to put their phone in a Yondr pouch every morning. The magnetically-sealed pouches could only be opened by a staff member with a specialized tool.

Yondr pouches have been used at concerts and other live events to prevent attendees from capturing photos or videos and sharing them to social media. According to the company’s website, representatives work with schools during a “foundation year” to implement them within the districts.

According to a presentation to the school board Tuesday evening, Bluetooth technology works through the pouches.

The board heard concerns about students’ ability to call 911 in case of an emergency at school. Administrators said every classroom has a phone in it for that purpose.

According to the GCSD Board of Education, the program will cost $98,000 and begin in the 2022-2023 school year. Official changes will be made to the district’s code of conduct in August.

In a survey done with over 1,300 Greece teachers, parents, and students, a majority said cell phones are a major distraction and had a negative impact on classroom learning. Phones — says Steve Chatterton with the district — can’t just be tucked away in class. Kids use them constantly. 

“It’s still very very accessible it’s still easy to use,” he says.

Chatterton says fights have increased due to cell phone use and kids taping them, and video posting with Tik Tok challenges has led to serious property damages. 

“We lost every bathroom in every high school. We had to replace every toilet paper holder, every towel holder,” he says.

Parents, though — say kids need a way to call 911 in case of emergencies. One Greece parent said 99% of students with phones behave, this plan only serves to hurt everyone. 

“… and not punish those that are good that follow the rules of the school,” says one parent.

The board will revisit the initiative in December to decide on next steps.


Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.