Challenge: No Electronic Devices

Updated: 04/17/2014 10:38 PM
Created: 04/17/2014 5:37 PM

The principal at Hermantown Middle School sent out a message to parents two weeks ago. His request? Put away the iPads, iPods, cell phones, video games, and Facebook for awhile.

"We went to a training last fall. And they asked, what if there was a program to decease bullying and increase test scores? The answer, was to take away violent video games, cell phones and computer time," Kerry Juntunen said.

So he's hoping this strategy works with the kids at his school.

Their goal is to improve their students' focuses, right before the all important Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, also known as MCAs.

Some parents, were skeptical. "The first three days are the hardest, because the kids are fighting and fighting for the devices," Juntunen explained. "But now I've quite a bit of positive feedback. Even students tell me, they are different."

One Hermantown mom agrees. "My kids are calmer, they are laughing more," Jennifer Madill Hagen. "I laughed at first, when the email came, because I teach kids dance. And I know all the girls on their water break reach for their phones. But this is awesome. Texting and Facebook, it totally takes their minds off what they should be doing. We as adults know how time consuming it is!"

The MCA testing just began, and will go through the beginning of May. Juntunen said some results are instantaneous, others they'll have to wait for. But regardless of the scores, he said they hope to continue to see positive results from this experience.

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