Students at an Alaska high school will no longer be consumed by their cell phones during the school day — thanks to a complete ban on the devices.
Officials at Lumen Christi High School in Anchorage began the school year with a new policy that requires its students to hand over their phones at the beginning of the day, a spokesperson for the high school confirms to PEOPLE. The phones are returned at the end of the day.
“We found a lot of distractions in our classrooms, and cellphones were a major part of that,” principal Brian Ross said, according to KTVA.
The policy has been in place for about six weeks and staffer Antje Carlson said it’s been going well.
“The kids are more focused, they put more effort into their work, and they are friendlier,” Carlson told KTVA.
Students who violate the policy could have their phones taken by a teacher and ultimately confiscated for the remainder of the semester, KTVA reported.
The school’s some 70 students didn’t initially take too well to the idea.
“I was bummed at first, I think all of us were,” junior Caleb Furneri told KTUU. “We’re really used to our cell phones. We learned how to adapt to it. It’s kind of nice because when we aren’t on our cell phone, we can interact more — especially between classes.”
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School officials praised the policy in a Sept. 13 video on their Facebook page. The footage showed students simply standing around and talking with each other.
“The sweet sounds of kids talking, laughing, and building community,” the video description reads. “The only thing NOT missing are cell phones! We love it!”
The private Catholic school isn’t alone in its attempts to quell excessive cell phone use in schools.
A number of Michigan school districts have implemented policies to limit phone use in schools, according to WWMT.
Over the summer, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 272, which encourage schools to adopt policies to cut down on cell phone use.
Studies show that there are several benefits to having students put down their phones, including better note-taking skills, better test scores, and increased cognitive capacity.
Meanwhile, students at Lumen Christi say it’s helped to foster community.
“I’ve seen a positive effect on our school,” student Joshua Van Tuyl told KTUU. “People are socializing more, we’re actually focusing on school instead of checking our phones all the time.”