OCM BOCES Criminal Justice class ditches cell phones

Goal to boast personal communication; cell phones to be returned Friday

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - The OCM BOCES New Visions Criminal Justice Class will be spending the week without cell phones.

Instructors asked the 16 high school seniors in the class to hand in their phones Monday morning.

Liverpool High Senior Julia Praschunus told NewsChannel 9 just after turning in her phone what she feels like without it, "Like anxiety and panic."  Chittenango High Senior Mya Streiff chimed in, "I'm nervous."

Marcellus High Senior Cory Garvey reluctantly parted with his phone as part of the project to teach personal communication skills to the class, "I'm feeling a little deprived from my phone already, I'm so used to always having it on me so it’s kinda weird."

The main reason for doing it came from a growing chorus of police academy instructors commenting about the lack of communication skills among new recruits.

Onondaga County Undersheriff Jason Cassalia says, "It's a career of conflict.  We're immersed in it, the better we're able to communicate the less conflict hopefully we'll have."

The New Vision program tried this same thing about 10-years ago, but when texting and social media were in their infancy.

New Vision Criminal Justice Program Instructor Charlie Wilson tells NewsChannel 9, "It just seemed natural to revisit with newer technology smartphones so here we are."

Former New Vision Student and current Onondaga County Assistant District Attorney Courtney Venditte says, "When I didn't have it for that week I spent a lot more time with my family, I had a lot more face to face communication with my family and friends."

The smart phones will be handed back to the students on Friday morning.

Garvey says, "Once I get my phone back I'm going to be so excited." Streiff adds, "Oh my god I'm going to be so happy."

The students are being asked to keep a journal to track their week without cell phones.

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