LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Are cell phones a distraction from learning for Clark County students?

Some schools say yes and take away their phones during class, but not everyone supports the idea.

“My oldest son goes to Walter Johnson Middle School and they were going to start using them at the beginning of this year,” explained Leonard Lither. He shared a letter sent home to parents at the Las Vegas school. It stated at the beginning of the day students would be required to lock up their cell phones in bags. That didn’t sit well with Lither, who is both a CCSD parent and a CCSD teacher.

“Unfortunately, we live in America and there is a lot of violence. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen knives in middle school. I’ve seen knives in elementary school. It’s ridiculous,” Lither contended.

Lither complained to the district about the school taking away his son’s line of communication with the outside world during an emergency and apparently other parents did too.

“Soon after that, I did get a message back. All parents did, saying that they would not be using them this year,” Lither recounted.

Schools across the nation are using them, including some in Southern Nevada. In Massachusetts, a cellphone signal-blocking pouch program led students and parents to protest.

“There’s a lot of students that have a lot of different ways to get around it,” explained one student.

School districts in 41 states have spent $2.5 million to buy magnetically sealed fabric pouches from Yondr, a California startup according to Govspend, a group that tracks government spending.

“We have almost 350 schools. That is a lot of money to buy these things,” Lither argued. Lither revealed some Clark County schools have less expensive solutions for student phones that don’t separate kids from their phones all day.

“They have pocket holders for some schools. You just put the phone in the pocket. They have mini phone lockers. I have seen many things like that. I have no problem with that. Kids puts it there, leaves the class, takes it with them. I do believe we do need a uniform district-wide policy,” Lither stated.

FOX5 reached out to CCSD Wednesday to ask them to clarify the district policy, which seems to differ by school. So far, we have not heard back.

According to the National Education Association, some schools are banning phones altogether. They believe a cell phone-free environment will lead to fewer incidents of cyberbullying, improve attendance, and reduce time on social media (and associated mental health problems).


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