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Police respond as high school students protest phone policy

TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) — Police responded to a Connecticut high school as a precaution as students protested a new policy that will require their cellphones to be locked during the school day.

Fire alarms were pulled Thursday morning at Torrington High School, prompting officials to cancel classes for the rest of the day and send students home early. No arrests were reported, but school officials said students who violated the code of conduct will be disciplined.

The local school board approved the new policy on Wednesday night, citing a need to curb student distractions, after students, teachers and parents expressed concerns, the Republican-American reported.

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Under the policy, all middle and high school students will have to put their cellphones in special pouches and swipe them at a kiosk that will activate magnetic locks on the pouches. They will swipe them again as they leave the schools to unlock their phones. The policy is expected to be implemented after the April vacation.

Some students who were upset at the school board's decision gathered Thursday morning in Torrington High School's auditorium to express their opposition, school officials said in a statement. A Facebook video shows an administrator trying to take a microphone away from a student. Fire alarms were later pulled at the school.

“We do not condone any disruption to the educational environment," Superintendent of Schools Susan Lubomski said in a statement. “Students who acted in violation of the Student Code of Conduct will be disciplined appropriately.”

Students say they use their phones during the day to make appointments with guidance counselors, to study and help them cope with stress.