Medford students turning in phones before class

MEDFORD, Ore. — Students at McLoughlin Middle School wrapped up their first week of school on Thursday.  It was also their first week without cell phones.

Students are turning in their phones at the beginning of the school day as part of the “Away For The Day” initiative.  The national organization helps kids focus in school.

“There’s been a lot of research around test scores and or student achievement can be declined by ten to even twelve percent,” Kelly Soter, Principal, said. “Kids are constantly getting buzzed and notified and whether they look at it or not, there’s something in them that’s saying what’s going on in my phone.”

Students at first said they didn’t like the idea but some are actually coming around.

“It won’t allow me to reach for it and be distracted by whatever we’re learning,” said Jasmatae Whyte, Student, said.

“It really does make a difference because you just see people interacting with each other more, Aniya Lopez Williams, Student, said.

McLoughlin is the only school in Medford using the new policy.  The national organization’s research said doing away with phones will help kids socially, academically and help reduce bullying and depression.

“We want them to have that connection with other kids and staff and we believe that this is a positive move that allows us to do that,” Soter said.  “The environment that we want to have and we believe that this procedure helps us with really allows us to have better connections to our students.”

School officials said they will asses the program in January to see how its affecting student performance.

Soter said parents are supportive of the program so far. While some have had concerns about not being able to reach their kids during school hours, the students are allowed to use landlines when needed. Parents are asked to go through the administration office.

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