California high school bans cell phones

(Shutterstock/Maria Savenko)

SAN MATEO, Calif. (WTHR) — As people — especially teens — become more immersed in the technology of smartphones, it means more distractions from other tasks. That includes school.

Some teachers in the heart of Silicon Valley are trying out new ways to get students to put down their phones and engage in real life.

This school year, students at San Mateo High School must lock up their phones before heading to class.

"You're here to learn. You are here to work with your teachers and students," Assistant Principal Adam Gelb told NBC News. "We started getting away from that in the last couple of years because of these devices and how addictive they can be."

At the start of each day, students put their phones into a Yondr case that locks it in and needs a special device to open it.

Without access to their phones during the day, students are encouraged to interact with others.

"Last year, a lot of people just, spent lunches looking at their phone and not talking to each other," one student said. "But this year, there's nothing else to do but talk."

The school makes exceptions for some medical conditions, but for everyone else, the case is impossible to open on your own.

After eight hours without their phones, students use a device to unlock the case and are free to use their phones once again.

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