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AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Akron Public Schools pilot cell phone policy has caught a lot of attention and has ruffled student’s feathers over the past few months.

To help obtain direct feedback from students, the district invited students to the East Community Learning Center for a forum on Thursday.

“The three of us are here today, and you’re all here today, so that we can have a great dialogue about our cell phone policy,” Akron Public Schools Board President Dr. Derrick Hall said.

Hall explained that the new policy where students are required to place their phone in a Yondr bag at the start of each day, is to limit distractions caused from using a smartphone during class.

“We recognized that we had a learning environment that had been compromised,” he said.

 Students at three schools, Buchtel, Ellet and East, are among the first to follow the new policy.

Most students oppose the change due to concerns for emergency situations, work obligations, and a general feel that this is a punishment to all students – even if they aren’t violators of the previous cell phone policy.

“I feel like it’s geared to everyone when it should be geared to more to students who are disruptive in classrooms, or not on track to graduate, because those are the ones who need it,” East Community Learning Center junior Cochise Griffin said. “I feel like they need to teach us responsible use of the cell phones because when we graduate, we’re not going to have a Yondr bag.”

The board reassured students that this is not a form of punishment, but a pilot study that aims to keep kids on track for graduation. 

“We don’t want to wait until you graduate, we want to make sure you graduate,” Interim Superintendent Mary Outley said. “So, if this is something that may be getting in the way as a distraction, we owe it to you to address it.”

Akron Public Schools views the forum as a productive meeting with students and plan to consider all suggestions and concerns made by students.