Straight to the office: Cell phone policy enforcement spikes as administration considers changes

The phone policy for high school students is being more regularly enforced in the hallways and will be revised by the end of the first quarter to further limit cell phone usage during the school day.

While the phone policy has stayed relatively the same since the addition of shoe bags for phones in classrooms in the fall of 2018, this year, teachers took 26 phones within the first month of school.  Comparatively, only 10 phones were taken during the same month last year, according to High School Principal and Associate Head of School Dr. Marc Lindner.

Lindner is heading the process of looking into future plans after hearing input from parents, faculty, and students. On Sept. 24, he sent out a survey about cell phone use in school for students and faculty to fill out, which posed statements regarding when phones should be used, and allowed students to respond.

While the phone policy seems to complete its objective for teachers in the classroom, the administration is still looking to minimize the use of phones during all school hours due to studies that indicate it has a negative impact on attention spans and brain activity.

“Most of the research indicates [phones are] interfering with your ability to think and concentrate and increases anxiety. . . . so for a period of time eight hours a day, I think that it would be helpful for students to take a break away from their phones,” Dean of Academics Roslyn Landy said.

As of now, phones are not allowed to be used anywhere during class time without teacher permission, but they are allowed during passing periods, community time and lunch. Administrators have also reiterated that if a student’s phone is taken more than two times, parents will be called to pick it up.

Although some students would prefer more access to their phones throughout the day for various reasons, sophomore Naomi Gould understands the policy’s benefits.

“I know the phone policy comes from a good place, it has good intentions, and its goal is to protect the students and ensure that they’re properly applying themselves to their academics,” Gould said.

English teacher Melissa Tomanelli believes that the phone policy has been working well in her classroom since its implementation.

“I think that the policy is working quite well because I haven’t seen any interruptions within my classroom or in the hallways, and my students are able to focus on the material,” Tomanelli said.

While the administration could move towards a stricter policy, students like Gould feel that the student body is old enough to make these decisions by themselves and should be granted that privilege by the administration.

“I think that while constant phone usage may not be great, I think that it should be up to the high school student to be able to decide because we’re old enough and capable enough to make decisions by ourselves,” Gould said.

This story was featured in the Volume 37, Issue 2 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on October 4, 2019.

This story was featured in Volume 37, Issue 2 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on Oct. 4, 2019.