No more phones in class?


Hailey Cockram, Writer

Issues with cell phones in classrooms is not a new topic in 2018. The Owatonna High School may be seeing a policy change, and it may be dependent on how students use phones in class for academic purposes versus non-academic purposes.

Originally, the school policy states, “Cell phones and other like communication devices are not to be seen or heard during class periods without prior teacher permission. Cell phones may be used during lunch and during passing periods.” This is found under the code of conduct on page six of the student handbook. The policy then goes on to say, “Every student and employee of the Owatonna High School is entitled to learn and work in a safe school environment. To ensure this, it’s important that we establish and communicate clear student behavior expectations, and support these expectations with appropriate consequences that are applied firmly and consistently. The recommended guidelines are designed to be fair, firm and consistent for all students.”

Students and staff have heard buzz going around that the policy may be changing completely, however that is not the case. Principal Mr. Mark Randall said, “The cell phone policy will not be completely changing, but maybe a few words. Instead, the policy will be more enforced. The policy could potentially say something along the lines of, ‘Right as students walk into the classroom all devices and headsets need to be put away, not seen.” Mr. Randall has not decided to change the policy on his own, and he has received feedback from teachers and students on what he should to.

The current policy effects both students and teachers. Freshman Courtney Kath said, “They don’t really enforce it, and I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal.” Mr. Dean Walters had some opinions on the matter, and he said, “It’s garbage, I think they should get rid of it. If I could change the policy it would say something along the lines of, students can use phones in study hall, and in between classes, but when they go into classrooms they need to be put into a class collector and can be brought out if teacher says it’s okay.” Many students cannot handle not looking at their phone – it is a habit. Mr. Walters also said, “I heard some teachers saying they want to block cell signal completely, which is illegal by the way, but I think we should add incentives for them to get their phones during class or something like that.”

Many believe that cell phones are becoming an increasing problem in many classrooms, especially when students need to be paying attention. It is more of a respect issue, and students are not taking responsibility for incorrect usage of cell phones. Studies and experiments show people cannot do two things at once, which means that students are not able to be on a cell phone and effectively learn at the same time. To stronger enforce the policy, teachers and faculty will take phones right away if being misused. If a phone is brought onto school property, it becomes the schools property like a backpack or anything in a locker. The school has the right to confiscate or search anything that is being misused on school property. As cell phone usage gets worse, staff will be enforcing new rules. How students decide to use cell phones will determine the rules.

The final decision on the revision of the cell phone policy will be made this month for the 2018-2019 student handbook. One can take this poll to share their views on new policy.