MARENGO, Iowa – Too many students are looking at their phones at lunch instead of interacting with their classmates.
That’s why Iowa Valley Junior-Senior High School in Marengo has a new program: “No Phone, New Friends Fridays.”
Principal Janet Behrens started it this year to help lessen students’ dependency on phones so they can focus on face-to-face communication, reports KCRG.
Students get a color-coded card when they walk into the cafeteria for lunch on Fridays. The card tells them where they should sit for lunch. The tables also have conversation starters designed to break the ice.
And, more importantly, the lunchroom turns into a “no phone zone.”
“Every little thing helps in this day and age with all of the things that you have going on, all the pressures that they have with social media, it’s nice to see them take a break from all that,” Behrens told KCRG.
Students needed a couple weeks to warm up to the idea.
“When it first started I didn’t want to do it at all,” freshman Shara Kanke told the TV station. “At the all-school assembly on the first day of school, there was a little bit of like, ‘No way, she’s not really going to do that.’”
But the idea is paying off. According to Kanke, students are nicer to each other in class because they’re getting to know one another during lunch.