Cell Phone Policy And The Privilege That Comes With It
The understanding of the privilege when using smartphones and internet access
Many teachers and staff have reached the breaking point with phones becoming a distraction in not only their classroom but now the entire school campus. Seeing a person deeply consumed in their electronics when walking into a room, whether it be their music playing, a social media app being scrolled through,or a game being played it is considered a completely normal part of society.
Although much of the younger generation has been mildly consumed by social media and their smartphones, there has been a technological stance that has been pursued around the world for good meanings. Yet as students continue to make attachments to the internet and social media world, they view their smartphones as a right to them during anytime, but what many forget is that having any type of smartphone or access to the internet, is a privilege.
One of the first possible things a student could think of when it comes to a controversial topic on campus, cell phone use would be the first to come to mind. Smartphones nowadays have sought their way into being used for the intentions of social interaction. Although this is a huge red light for teachers not wanting a phone to be used in their classrooms, not many students believe that their smartphones are a distraction towards them in school. When a teachers sees a student on their cell phone during class, on any occasion of a learning process they automatically jump to the conclusion that their smartphones are a complete distraction towards their learning experience.
Regina Bell, Algebra 2, Finite, and AVID teacher stated that, “Using a cell phone as a handy calculator or to research topics is appropriate, but not necessary since every student at OHHS has a Chromebook that can do these things.”
Now, of course many students deemed to believe otherwise, when 70 sophomore students took a survey on the use of cell phones, 62.9% said that their phones were not a distraction towards them in school. A growing issue that comes from this standpoint is that many young kids from the current generation have reached a point where there has been an overload in the social media and internet world.
Michael Capps, Principal of OHHS, expressed that although we may already have electronic devices around us that can still account for a distraction, such things as our smartphones and internet can cause a social overload. He spoke on how students can constantly be bombarded with the media and messaging available to them with their phones.
Capps stated that, “All this social interaction, equates to endless disruptions and distractions daily. These messages can cause, I believe, social overload or social overstimulation.”
OHHS is a lenient school in the way that they handle the use of smartphones being allowed on campus, as they are pretty much widely used throughout the school with privilege and consent. Many phones are allowed for use on campus during breaks and lunch. As students are allowed to openly use theirs phones for music and their own use during these times. The current policy for cell phone use in school is that they are to be turned off and put away. Although this policy is still in use lately, there has been the thought of whether or not OHHS is planning on putting a stricter policy towards cell phone use on campus, as many other schools in the district already have.
Capps said that “We have not as an administrative team, had the opportunity of discussing changing or the modification of the current cell phone policy for our students. We may be adding this topic to our summer cabinet agenda”.
There have been many rumors floating around stating that OHHS has been wanting to crack down on the use of cell phones that they have on campus. This certain rumor has mostly been coming from teachers, as they are most definitely the ones to be affected as it is mostly taking place in their classrooms. Many teachers feel a natural defense towards the use of a cell phone during their teaching time, as it is of course a distraction to the learning process that they have worked towards to have it better your school progress. Although some teachers have implied in a way that there will be a ban on cell phone use or that they would like it to be changed, it is not happening. After receiving an update with Capps on the policy of cell phones, he stated that their would be no change in the cell phone policy.
Capps said that, “There has not been any talk, any change, and there will not be any change for this next year in the cell phone policy”.
Although there will be no change, it is still important that many students understand that teachers, are at many times labeled as the bad guy when they have a natural defense towards cell phone use. Yet in reality the use of a phone can be a complete distraction to the learning process unless it is being used in an effective way. For the most part when a cell phone is being taken away for use in the classroom it is out of frustration or as stated before a complete sign of disrespect to a teacher.
Capps elaborated on how teachers can feel about cell phones, “ The way the policy is, is that a lot of it falls on the teacher to be the supervisor, the parent if you will in the classroom”.
Although the teachers do tell students to have their cell phones off and put away because it can be a disruption and defiance, it will most likely always end up being a confrontational situation between the teacher and the student when they get caught with their cell phone out. From there the student takes a defensive response to it as well as the teacher and it gets thrown into a whole argument of the right to a phone.
Rikki Morrell, AVID and English honors teacher, stated that “I think there is a limit, and respect plays a part in that. I know there are ways that teachers can incorporate technology into their classrooms to use cellphones to their advantage, but there is a fine line”.
Out of 70 sophomores on a cell phone use survey more than 80% of them knew that their phones were a privilege to them rather than a right. Yet 70% of them said that there phone was a necessity for them during school and it was more than likely used for social interaction, music, or games. For the most part teachers put a fine line between the use of phones for implication on lesson learning versus the use of a phone for social interaction.
Another excuse that students happen to find when it comes to the cell phone policy is that they need a cellular device to be able to contact their parents in case of an emergency. Although this use is for a good cause, it is not needed because OHHS has a great system for emergencies. It would be better if students would use their internet access to help with lesson implementation or to improve student learning. Many students still believe though that their phones are still needed for use in school and that the cell phone policy should not be altered.
Morrell stated that she believed students should have a better understanding of how disrespected any staff member could feel when students use their phones.
She said, “Students need to understand that they are making teachers and adults feel disrespected, but on the same hand teachers and adults need to understand that this is the way this generation works. We have to find a happy medium, and I don’t know what that is”.