WACO, Texas (KWKT) – A Texas middle school has a new policy in place: Students are required to place their phones inside a locked pouch throughout the school day.

G.W. Carver Indian Spring Middle School’s principal Reggie Lewis said the Waco school is enacting the rule after noticing many students on their phones throughout the day, not focusing on the classroom.

“The main focus is we’re not trying to take a kid’s phone away from them. We don’t want to inconvenience parents. We just want to create a better environment for the students to learn,” Lewis said.

The school received a grant to make purchasing the 800 locked pouches possible and made the announcement last week.

The principal said each student will be issued a pouch, which they can keep with them and take home at the end of every school day.

When they enter, students will use a device in the classroom to lock the pouch. When they leave, they can unlock the pouch and pull their phones back out.

“We’re seeing it’s good, we’re happy. You have the ones that say, ‘Well, what about my kid if I need to get ahold of them?’ Contact the school, we can get them for you,” Lewis said.

For parents who wish to track their child using an app like Life360, Lewis said it’s still possible even with the phone in a pouch.

“We can put those phones on airplane mode and [parents] can still continue to watch them,” said Lewis. “We’ve been listening to what people have been saying and trying to make sure we can accommodate them.”

The Waco school is far from the first to use this product to keep cell phone use out of the classroom. The pouch, made by the company Yondr, was released in 2014. Since then, schools around Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and elsewhere have adopted its use.

One student at Springfield Central High School in Massachusetts, where the use of Yondr’s product became required in 2022, told MassLive the pouch policy quickly won her over.

“Honestly I think a lot of people were being overly dramatic at first,” Gianni Medina said. “It’s not bad at all and it’s honestly cool going to school without a cellphone.”