(NBC News) Middle schoolers at Carter Community School in Durham, North Carolina are using a new kind of locker.
Each morning, students place their phones in Yondr locking cases.
Principal LaManda Pryor says phone distraction in the classroom is a growing problem.
“When you take a phone from a teenager it’s always a struggle,” she admits. “They do not want their phones taken away.”
The Yondr cases let students keep phones in their possession without being able to access them.
It’s a fairly low-tech solution to a high-tech problem. The pouches are made of neoprene and hard to get into. The lock is magnetic, so only the teacher can unlock it using a special base at the end of the day.
It’s not just a problem with teens. The locking pouches are also used at concerts, weddings and comedy shows.
Yondr says the intention is to help people be more present, and students say it’s working.
“Because it’s locked in pouch, you can’t really be as attached to your phone as much as you were before,” says Ryan Chavis.
Grades are improving and it’s having a social impact.
“Kids can get on social media and start so much, but by using Yondr it helps us keep away from the bad negativity,” says Qryamah Hart.
Principal Pryor says the cost of the pouches was just a few dollars per student.