phone policy in classes
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Phone Philosophies: What Teachers Do About Phones in the Classroom

2 mins read

The M-A Electronic Device Policy states that teachers, the Assistant Vice Principal (AVP) office, or an administrator should be calling home every time a student has their phone out. Yet, in many M-A classes, phone usage is rampant. M-A teachers have come up with various ways to combat it.

For some, having to call home every time a student pulls out their phone is just too much work. Arminda King, a Precalculus and AVID teacher said, “If I did that for every time I saw a phone, I would do nothing else.” 

Some teachers find the school’s policy on phones necessary. Biology teacher Patrick Roisen said, “[Our phone policy has] got to have teeth to it. Kids are under attack by highly paid behavioral psychologists who designed phones to be addictive to children. It’s really hard for kids to resist that, so they need support in resisting it.”

Kids are under attack by highly paid behavioral psychologists who designed phones to be addictive to children. It’s really hard for kids to resist that, so they need support in resisting it.

Roisen, alongside King and other teachers, utilize phone pockets in order to prevent phone usage during class. For King, the phone pockets are helpful, but they don’t always work. “Sometimes I end up basically nagging students to put their phones in the phone chart, and it’s really annoying,” she said. On the other hand, Roisen said, “I haven’t had many problems with the pockets” and that they minimize distractions during class.

However, some students aren’t happy with the phone pocket policy. Faith Te’o, a senior at M-A, says that while phones shouldn’t be out during class time, teachers should allow students to have their phones on them in case of emergencies. She said, “With your phone at the front of the classroom, you can’t feel when someone texts you.” While parents are supposed to call the school if they need to reach their child during class time, it’s much more convenient to text or call their child directly. Sophomore Kayla Greenbaum said, “[Phone pockets are] a little annoying when you want to take pictures of what you’re working on that you want to save.” She likes her math teacher’s phone policy, where students put their phones away for tests, but get to keep them otherwise.

Most teachers feel that phones are a big distraction in class. Martha Richards, who teaches Chemistry and Biology, said, “I wish that there was a stricter policy that admin would enforce. We should encourage people to be present.”

In 2019, California passed Assembly Bill No. 272, which allows schools to ban phones during class time. It states,“Unrestricted use of smartphones by pupils at elementary and secondary schools during the schoolday interferes with the educational mission of the schools, lowers pupil performance, particularly among low-achieving pupils, promotes cyberbullying, and contributes to an increase in teenage anxiety, depression, and suicide.” 

While the school’s phone policy may seem strict, it’s not unique to M-A; schools all over the country are cracking down on phone use. Starting this school year, Florida now bans phones from all public schools during class time, unless used for “educational purposes.” As more research comes out about phone’s effect on mental health, we can expect that rules will only get stricter.  

Sarah is a senior at M-A and this is her first year in journalism. She wants to write about policies at M-A as well as satires. She likes to draw and play ultimate frisbee.

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