Disconnected: Plainfield middle school makes students go phone-free

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PLAINFIELD -

A middle school in Union County is forcing its students to stay disconnected in class, by prohibiting cellphones.

Maxson Middle School Principal Kevin Stansbury implemented the phone ban this week after he noticed some major issues inside of the school.

“Our test scores were down, suspensions were up, discipline was up,” he says.

Stansbury says students were too distracted by their phones to focus on school. So he purchased Yondr pouches for the school. When students come in to class each morning, they place their phones in the pouch, which is then locked up tight. It can only be opened using a special device at the end of the day.

Eighth-graders who spoke with News 12 New Jersey say that they noticed a change in a matter of hours.

“It's just better for everyone because you'll understand how it feels to get more work done instead of paying attention to the phone,” says student Charlene Venture.

“I’m usually listening to music, not listening to no one, but today I got to communicate with all my friends,” says student Desiree Durant.

The program was originally met with some backlash from students and parents. But teachers and administrators say that the program will have a major impact.

“Students were talking and laughing and there were no cellphones other than being carried in the pouches,” Stansbury says.

Teacher Nia Cummings says she even noticed students bouncing ideas off each other in class. She says students used to give up quickly and just look for answers on their phones. She says they now try to figure it out themselves.

Maxson Middle School is currently the only one in the district to use these pouches.

Yondr Pouches have been used at some concerts and comedy shows in venues that do not want their audiences to use their phones.

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