Yondr Pouches Debut at PCHS
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Pulaski County High School has implemented the use of Yondr pouches for the 2020-21 school year to make the school a phone-free zone. The school board decided that students should go to school without having the distraction of a phone and that when students are in school, they should be focused on being successful. It is their belief that phone use inhibits students’ ability to focus on the task at hand. This decision was met with mixed reviews from the student body.
Students were officially introduced to Yondr pouches on September 21st with a presentation from Yondr, a company who has helped over 1200 schools become phone-free spaces. They explained the necessity of phone free spaces and how that can have a positive impact on schools. Students also learned how to to lock and unlock their pouches through demonstrations from the administration and staff.
When the new rule went into effect, there was a backlash against Yondr pouches among some students, feeling that Yondr pouches were unfair and unnecessary. One student said that everyone understands the importance of the phone problem, but “these pouches are not a solution.”
In a survey, over two-thirds of students surveyed said they “strongly disliked Yondr pouches.” 7 out of ten students felt that Yondr pouches would not keep them focused on their schoolwork and only 16 percent of respondents think that Yondr pouches will prevent students from using their phones at school. A majority of students felt that Yondr pouches will have a negative impact on our school.
A majority of students responded to the section of the survey where they could leave their general thoughts. Some students felt that the $53,500 used to pay for the students could have been spent elsewhere. Many suggested funding for the arts, sports, and scholarships as possible alternatives. Other students were concerned about having their phones in case of an emergency or using their phones for school.
Several students were not opposed to regulating phone use. One student said, “it will take some getting used to, but once we’re there, it will be an amazing change.” However, even students who were not opposed felt that this was not the right year to implement it.
Yondr pouches affect everyone in the school, including teachers. I talked with several teachers to gather their opinions on Yondr pouches. Several teachers felt that the Yondr pouches were worth the investment. One teacher agreed with the sentiment of several students, saying “this is a tough year to implement them.”
Mr. Bird, Social Studies teacher, was involved in the discussion about Yondr pouches prior to its implementation with students and school board members. In these discussions, Mr. Bird felt that the students were open and honest about phone use in school. He believes that these discussions are what allowed Yondr pouches to become a reality at PCHS. As for the impact Yondr pouches will have on our school, Mr. Bird thinks that it is too early to tell.
I sat down with our School Resource Officer, Mr. Bowden, to get another perspective on Yondr pouches. He talked about how his job is to keep students safe from physical and emotional harm and how phone use has made that difficult. He’s had to deal with cyberbullying and the effect that can have on students. When these things happen, he takes them personally. He said, “I feel like I’ve failed that child because I couldn’t protect them.”
Since the introduction of Yondr pouches three weeks ago, Mr. Bowden has seen a positive impact on our school. Mr. Bowden does not have to deal with cyberbullying. This allows him some time to do things like security checks so he can make sure the school is safe. He believes that Yondr pouches were a worthwhile investment because “you can’t put a price on security.”