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Akron students will not have phones during the school day | #schoolsaftey

AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Public School Board voted in favor of providing locked cellphone pouches, called “Yondr” bags for all middle and high school students in the district. 

What You Need To Know

  • All middle and high school students in The Akron Public School district will be given Yondr bags for the 2023-2024 school year
  • The bags keep students’ phones locked away during school hours
  • The district hopes this will help cut back on violence during the school day  

The bags are used to keep a cell phone locked away for a certain period of time, and then students can open the bag at the end of the day with a magnet provided by the school.

Last school year, Ellet CLC was one of the few buildings in the district that received Yondr cell phone bags.

Students were given the magnetic locking bags to store their phones during the day. 

Don Zesiger, the director of security at Akron Public Schools, said he believes the bags will help cut back on violence in the schools.

“Staging fights then filming them was a big thing,” Zesiger said. “Social media, like bogus social media threats, are a problem as well so it creates this distraction throughout the day that causes anxiety for everyone.” 

Dylan Oprin is a rising senior at Ellet High School. He said he does not feel safe at school.

“I definitely don’t feel like I’m being protected by security or anything every day,” he said. “I feel like I am on my own basically, everyone is. I feel like toward the end of the year, like the second semester, I used to go into school and just be like paranoid, and I have never had paranoia.”  

Oprin said although they only had the Yondr bags for the last half of the school year, he believes the bags helped cut back on violence and made some students more social. 

“I personally thought it wasn’t the greatest idea,” Oprin said. “But, when the year came to an end, I saw the change, so there is positive stuff that came out of it, but there is definitely a lot of negative too.” 

Zesiger explained that the students will be able to keep their Yondr bags, with their cellphones inside, on their person all day. 

“When you come to school in the morning, you would put your phone in the bag, and an administrator watches you do this,” Zesiger said. “You push this button and now it’s locked and you can’t open it. And at the end of the day, these are displayed so you can unlock your phone and it’s just like that and your phone is available.” 

Some students, like rising seventh grader Karter Gibson, believe they won’t feel safe in school without their phones. Gibson said his phone is how he keeps in contact with his family during the day. 

“I could get stabbed and I can’t talk, and no one would know I could just be in the bathroom,” Gibson said. “Well, what am I going to do if I have a Yondr package? I’m just going to sit there?” 

The bags are opened using magnets and while the schools have metal detectors; the students said it’s easy to open the Yondr bags on their own, even without using a magnet. 

“Everyone just pounds them, just a couple taps and it opens,” Oprin explained. “In the classroom and in the bathrooms, all you hear is ‘pop, pop, pop’ and it’s just the bag, it’s popping.” 

Zesiger, said if students are caught doing this they could face consequences. 

“There is some in-school suspensions, its progressive discipline, depending on how many times they do it the infractions get more severe,” Zesiger said.

Students cannot opt out of this program. 

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