This school year, the Leesville administration and school improvement team decided to implement a new cell phone policy in classrooms. The new policy includes “CellSlips,” pouches designed to block all signals to the phones once sealed. Each classroom will have a set of pouches velcroed onto the desk, one for each student, and students must keep their phone in the pouch during class to prevent distraction.
The administration made the decision to purchase the pouches in response to teacher and parent concerns about cell phone distractions in the classroom. Once decided, the administration approached the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) school improvement team for help in fundraising. The school and WCPSS will be purchasing the pouches, which cost $14.95 each, but may be subsidized due to the bulk order. Also, the PTSA will fundraise to pay for the velcro and any additional funds will be donated to the school to help cover the cost of the pouches.
Janis Lawrence, the PTSA Vice President of School and Student Support, has been involved in the fundraising for the velcro. “The PTSA was not involved in the decision making for this initiative. It was decided by Dr. Muttillo and his school improvement team. The main driver behind it is the distraction that cell phones cause in the classroom. It has been a huge frustration for some of the staff,” said Lawrence.
Leesville is not the only school experiencing problems with cell phone distractions in class. Some schools around the country have started to ban cell phones completely in schools, while some take initiatives similar to Leesville to combat the problem. Broughton High School, a school in Raleigh, has also implemented cell pockets; however, unlike at Leesville, the students do not have the cell pockets at their desks.
Leesville has already received the pouches, and will begin a “soft rollout” which will slowly integrate the pouches into classrooms. Students can expect the pouches in their classrooms next week.