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SAN ANSELMO, Calif. (KPIX) – You’ve heard of distracted driving and even distracted walking but what about distracted learning?

The problem of smartphones in class is hitting the lower grades as well. One initiative named “Away for the Day” pushes a policy to lock up smartphones in middle schools for the entire day.

It’s an issue that teachers across the country are tackling on a daily basis: students on their phones, instead of paying attention in class.

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The new rule at one Northern California school is forcing students to ditch their phones.

Lunchtime at Sir Francis Drake High in San Anselmo means the cell phones are out. But that doesn’t mean they don’t use them in class as well.

“You can always tell because they’re, like, looking under the desk and there’s a little bright light on their face,” said student Tori Saaverda.

Students texting and using social media in class has become a huge problem for most schools. That’s why this new group of kids in Raquel Nelson’s history class are starting the day picking out their spaces in a parking lot.

“Make sure that the paper is filled out and you put your phone with it,” said history teacher Raquel Nelson.

It’s a parking lot for phones. Before they get started, everyone has to leave their smartphones in these pouches for the remainder of the class. It’s actually an idea that came from moms and dads.

“We had a group of parents who donated a bunch of cell phone parking lots to us and any teacher that wanted one could have one,” said Drake High School Assistant Principal Chad Stuart.

Drake High isn’t against using tech in the classroom. Nelson’s students use laptops for most assignments, but smartphones are a different story.

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“What we notice is the kids were way distracted by the cell phones — more than they were ever distracted by computer screens,” she said.

So, by “parking” them, the distraction is eliminated. Although some kids grumbled at first, most have gotten used to the idea. Drake High freshman Symon Marcotte figures he’s addicted to his phone.

“I see a lot more people doing work and, like, a lot more…enthusiasm for their work instead of just looking at their phone and not doing what they’re supposed to,” he said.

It’s the teacher’s option whether or not to collect the phones. The results have been so positive that next year all Drake High classes will have a place to park the phones, because, like they say, it can wait.

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