Beloved cell phone pockets make their long-awaited return

Erin Tsai, Staff Writer

IUSD announced plans to implement at-home cell phone pockets after students reported a drop in academic performance and mental health over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After conducting several surveys about student habits and mental health, IUSD found that most students were 67% more likely to procrastinate and 293% less likely to socialize with friends in-person after the events of 2020.

“We are very concerned about our students,” IUSD superintendent Noaf Ohns said. “Cell phone pockets resulted in a huge increase in student productivity pre-pandemic, so it only stands to reason that installing these in student homes to best serve the well-being of our students.”

Hugely popular from the results of a recent staff survey, the district immediately realized that students would share the same sentiment regarding cell phone pockets. After making slight adjustments to the designs, the district approved a detailed pocket plan that guaranteed a greater level of focus and accelerated academic performance for students.

The cell phone pockets were made by luxury fashion house Zucci, which IUSD hired to design and manufacture. Each cell phone pocket will be custom-made to tailor each individual household’s unique needs for the discounted price of $2,985 per pocket. Personalized features include the student’s initials plated in gold as well as adjustments based on the model and brand of the phone.

“We are aware that different IUSD families have different needs, and we are doing our best to provide to everyone’s needs the best we can,” Irvine city family therapist Richie Rich said. “Although families are required to pay for each pocket they receive, IUSD is willing to pay up to 0.2% of the costs to bring peace of mind for all of our students and their families.”

Pockets will be required to meet additional requirements in order for the district to approve them. Once a student puts in their phone at the beginning of the day, the pocket must be locked with an iron deadbolt that under no circumstances can open until after 8th period. Any “close encounters,” which the district defines as stepping within 10 feet of the lock, will result in a siren similar to that of a school fire alarm.

Cell phone pockets must be installed by March 15 in every household. Families can call the front office for assistance if they have trouble self-installing in their homes. Students who cannot afford the pockets or do not install the pockets by the expected date will be obligated to place their phones in the public cell phone pockets currently established in the offices of every IUSD school.

“These are state-of-the-art cell phone pockets designed especially for use in schools.” Ohns said. “By hanging them on the wall outside the office, the district is committed to making the drop-off process as seamless as possible for students. They are completely secure and absolutely safe. We do not foresee any possible thefts whatsoever.”

The cell phone pockets will be mandatory effective as soon as possible and will be enforced through the honor system. Students who turn themselves in for violating the cell phone policy will receive a two-day suspension and have all electronic devices confiscated to reflect on their behavior. An anonymous tip line will also be opened to encourage transparency and trust between students.

Students who fail to turn themselves in will have more serious consequences. After a detailed review session that roots out possible distractions by going through all text messages, Instagram feeds and Snapchat streaks with the principal and parents present, students will be required to head to a local forest and survive for an entire week. The experience is meant to enlighten students about life without electronics and serve as an inspirational experience to appreciate the serenity of nature.

“We hope that students will just be honest and use the cell phone pockets as they should be used,” Ohns said. “Phones are extremely dangerous, and cell phone pockets are only the start of the changes we’re making to improve the lives of all IUSD students.”