Excessive phone use leads to teacher crackdown

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At the start of the second marking period, teachers began cracking down on students they thought were taking excessive liberties with their cell phones.

Many students are saying their teachers are more strictly enforcing the electronic device policy, which debuted in January and gave students more freedom with their phones.

The policy was intended to give students the ability to use their devices during passing time and at lunch. Additionally, staff members recognized the educational potential for these devices and wanted to allow students access to those educational features.

Instead, teachers say students have abused the policy, getting distracted by their gadgets and tuning out in class.

English teacher Theresa Mills is one of many teachers who has cracked down in recent days.

“It is a bigger issue than it should be,” Mills said. “I have given a blanket warning to everybody, and now I have started to take phones.”

The biggest issue with the cell phone usage for Mills is student participation. Their in-class activity and awareness of their surroundings are negatively affected by the constant cell phone use.

“They are not listening,” Mills said. “What’s going on in class isn’t important to them; they aren’t living in the moment.”

A change in the policy, Mills argues, should be looked into.

“When you walk into a classroom, you turn off your phone. That should be the expectation,” Mills said. “When you leave the classroom, that’s when it can come back out.”

 

Junior Chris Cole, a student in Mills’ forensics class, said, “If you use a cell phone in Mrs. Mills’ class, Mrs. Mills will stop that class and yell at you. The recent papers in IB English were extremely bad and part of that could be due to the cell phone use.”

For media specialist Sara Brown, cell phones are predominantly a distraction to students. In the library, cell phones used to be allowed for educational use only, but recently, they have become strictly prohibited. A new sign has been placed at the entrance of the media center, outlawing all cell phone use except for listening to music. Even when a student is listening to music, the phone must be tucked away in a pocket or folder to prevent distraction.

“I quit allowing [cell phone use] about two weeks ago,” Brown said. “The library was switched from a green zone to a red zone.”

According to Brown, students would sign out of classes or seminars and go to the library to just sit and play on their phones all hour. She thinks they are spending so much time texting and on social networking sites that their attention is diverted away from academics.

Administration and staff alike agree that class hours should be used solely for academics and that cell phone use should be only allowed outside of the classroom.