Kansas high school pilots cellphone pouches to limit usage

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas high school is piloting pouches that aim to reduce the distraction of cellphones after A&E's "Undercover High" showed students using their devices instead of engaging in class.

Highland Park High School received criticism after it was featured on the show that follows seven adults posing as teenagers.

The school's principal, Shana Perry, said she received several complaints about the cellphone usage, but a company also reached out to help.

Yondr, a manufacturer of phone pouches, contacted the school to test their product, The Topeka Capital Journal reported .

The pouches, which cost more than $20 each, are made of durable fabric that "lock up" cellphones and can be opened with special magnets. The pouches allow owners to retain their devices, but don't give easy access.

Senior student Victoria Nevarez, 18, said she didn't take the pouches seriously when her teacher first introduced them, but realized they could benefit her.

"I'm the one learning and I have to understand that I have to pay more attention and that I have to do good on my tests," Nevarez said. "I put my phone in the bag now and I pay more attention."

Perry said the school has had the pouches free of charge in 12 of its classrooms since last month. She said the cellphone struggles between teachers and students have lessened in some instances since the pilot began.

"A lot of times in education, we have to be reactive based on societal issues," Perry said. "We have to try to norm them within our schools and provide tools to our teachers to deal with what kids already have."

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