KIMBALL, Minn. (WCCO) — Kimball Area High School is like most schools: kids getting ready for finals, and checking out their cell phones – except for one class.

Katie Pettit teaches math, but this week, she’s also the keeper of the cell phones. She’s holding on to them 24/7 to teach her students a different kind of lesson.

“I’m hoping that by doing this they can learn that, hey, there’s a life out there that’s worth living and it’s not on my phone,” Pettit said.

She offered them a deal: turn in their cell phones for a full week and skip the final exam. Almost every student took her up on it.

“I thought she was kidding at first,” said 11th grader Isiah Ehlinger. “I didn’t think she was being serious, but hey, no final, so I might as well, right?”

Students still have plenty of work to do. She put together a big review packet, but they can work on it all week long.

“It’s about 10 pages, 12 pages, double-sided,” said student Brady Faber. “So, we’re still doing stuff, but it’s just not the final.”

And when they’re not working on math, they have more time for life.

“Spending more time with my mom, actually,” said student Abigail Strodtman. “I don’t sit there on my phone. I actually sit there and communicate with her (laughs).”

And with one deal down, Ms. Pettit is ready to make another. If the kids get all of their math assignments in by Friday, she’ll give up her phone. But is she worried?

“A little bit,” Pettit said. “But I think I’d be able to survive without my phone, so I think I’d be okay.”

Between all of her classes, Katie says about 70 of her students have surrendered their phones.

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