American parents want their children to have phones in schools

“It’s like they don’t trust us,” says Eva King, a 14-year-old pupil at Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, DC. She is standing outside the school during dismissal with two others who nod their heads and laugh in agreement. Deal’s administration has banned mobile phones during the entire school day. Pupils must store their devices inside Yondr pouches, grey padded cases that supposedly can be opened only with a special tool. The adults unlock the pouches with special magnets as pupils leave for the day.

Unsurprisingly, pupils have hacked the system. (“What do you expect?” Eva says. “We’re middle-schoolers.”) The girls recite a list of workarounds. Those magnets have become hot commodities, and a few have gone missing. Pupils have been seen banging pouches open in the toilets. Other pupils have faulty cases that no longer lock but have kept that information to themselves. The girls say that since phones have become a forbidden fruit, pupils only crave them more. They hope their school will reverse course after the summer break.

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