DHS’ Dreaded Phone Policy

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DHS’ Dreaded Phone Policy

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All of DHS has an opinion on the new phone policy. Very few students like it, but a lot of teachers like having their students’ full attention. The policy is that students are not permitted to be on their phones from the moment they walk into the building until the moment they leave except during lunch or study hall. Students are not permitted on their phones after the final bell (until they’re out of the building, of course). The only exception to phone use in the classroom is when teachers allow phones to be used for academic purposes.

Mrs. Grafe brought up many eye-opening points about the phone policy during my interview with her. When the new policy was explained during class meetings. I believe everybody was shocked about our phones not being constantly accessible anymore, so I don’t think anybody really heard the reasons Mrs. Grafe provided for it. Mrs. Grafe believes that “two very important things [in a school] are culture and student learning environment. I [am witnessing] an improved learning environment already.” I’m not sure what the numbers are showing, but students don’t want to be in this 110 degree building day after day with no entertainment. I understand that the point of school is not to be entertained, but we get tired easily. Many of us are involved in many things outside of school. Having phones keeps us awake when we cannot pay attention any longer because that does happen. More of Mrs. Grafe’s reasoning for getting rid of phones in the halls and classrooms are just overall misuse, safety concerns, and a desire to prepare students for the next stage in life when devices must be used responsibly. When coming to a conclusion on the new policy students, teachers, and parents were used in drafting it. Mrs. Grafe says that using a “combination of student body and staff [was] important.” This is very true. If the committee is only students nothing will be accomplished as a mediator and voice of reason is required in such a process.

One large point that almost every single student I have talked to has brought up is how necessary phones are for checking the calendar and student emails. With this being the primary means of communication with the student body, not having access to your cell phone makes it difficult to receive this communication. Mrs. Grafe said that there are “… designed points in the day to access your phone to check your email or calendar.” These designed times are lunch and study hall. Sometimes it isn’t convenient for those to be the only two times in a day for someone to check their email or calendar. Although it can be checked before school, not many people are thinking about checking it before school.

The policy itself is designed to have students communicate with each other face to face and to improve student learning. I don’t see the communication benefits of the rule happening at all. Now all students want to do is get to class so that way hopefully the day goes quicker. Mr. Bartholomew thinks differently, however. He states that “It [the phone policy] has made kids communicate more with each other.” Mr. Bartholomew has noticed one huge positive of the policy. Tardies. He said that he has given “…far fewer tardies than last year.” He’s just doing his job and is trying to “…train kids how to be well-functioning or highly-functioning adults in the workplace.”

The baskets are by far the worst idea in the policy because of carelessness. Someone’s $1000 phone can break too easily. Mrs. Whaley likes the baskets because “it’s been helpful to have the baskets to give everybody the structure of what to do with their phone before class.” I wouldn’t put the blame on teachers for using the baskets though. I put the blame on the students for being careless about it. There’s no need to toss your phone because you’re being forced to put it in a basket. It was explained to me by Mrs. Grafe that the school is not liable at all for any damage caused by their phone policy. She stated, “You don’t have to bring your phone to class. You can just leave it in your locker.”

With that in mind, say an intruder drill or bomb threat happens. If parents are made aware of the situation, they are going to want to check on their kid. Whether they call or text, no parent is going to continue their day not worrying about their kid. Such a situation churns any right-minded person’s stomach and nauseates them. Of course, log jams are going to happen, but nothing is going to prevent parents from reaching out and confirming the safety of their child.

All in all, my message to the student body is to be smart with phones. Don’t go out of your way, students, to make the administration’s lives tedious. I don’t fully agree with the policy, but it is what it is. Hopefully, we as students are heard loud and clear on this subject and our thoughts are taken into consideration.