Cuba-Rushford Cell Phone Controversy

Sarah Clark, Staff Writer

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Cell phones at Cuba-Rushford are permitted through certain guidelines. The rule is that students may freely use their electronic devices on the bus and during lunch, and that they may use them if a study hall teacher allows it. Although the current policy is tolerant, it still has chances to be improved without disrupting classes.

Compared to other schools, such as Archbishop Walsh Academy where students can only use their cell phones during morning breaks or lunch, yes the current cell phone policy is more lenient than most. However, if more freedom is implemented with cell phone use, it may encourage students to perform better. For example, if students were allowed to use their cell phones during study halls and during free periods in the library it may ease up a little more on the usage in class. However, to convince students to do better in academic areas, this new policy would be more of a privilege than a new rule that everyone is entitled to. Much like the App Store policy that students on the high honor roll may have the App Store open on their iPads, this would be implemented similarly. Only students on the high honor roll would be permitted to use their cell phones during a study hall or during a free period in the library . This could be easily monitored by study hall teachers or supervisors in the library due to the fact that study hall teachers are only supervising their study hall class that period, and students are already being monitored in the library.

When cell phones are confiscated, Mrs. Burt, the receptionist, keeps them in the office and if it was the first time she’s confiscated an individual’s phone, they can come collect it at the end of the school day . If it is the second time, a parent or another adult must come pick the cell phone up. When asked about how many phones she has actually had to confiscate this year, it was found out that it was only fifteen to twenty at most. When asked about the current cell phone policy, Mrs. Clawson a member of the Code of Conduct committee, commented that she is in favor of the current one that is in place and also thinks that cell phone usage during class just causes a distraction. Even though she has only taken one cell phone this year, she has had to tell roughly twenty people to get off of their phones in the hallway . The use of cell phones in the hallways should not be permitted because they cause distractions in the hallway and may cause students to run into each other or objects. However, when asked about a proposal of a policy permitting the usage of cell phones during a study hall or in the library during a free period she was not completely opposed to that idea, under certain circumstances such as grades. A big argument as to why some feel more freedom with cell phones should not be granted is due to the fact that it would be “too much to monitor.” However, with iPads already being implemented into education, the fear of students inappropriately using their cell phone is somewhat invalidated as they can already do so on their school issued iPads. According to a survey, 48% of students (almost half) admit to using their cell phones in class, so perhaps by allowing more usage of cell phones during free periods that percentage could drop lower.

Some students feel that they like the current policy, yet it could be improved. For example, the Code of Conduct states that students may use their cell phones during a study hall, yet as one student pointed out “study hall monitors don’t really allow cell phone use during class.” The student also commented that they like the idea of free usage of cell phones during a free period for a “reward” policy. Another student said that “it’d be nice to have more freedom in classes, like just to scroll through social media rather than play games on my iPad when nothing is being done during that class.” If a student is not doing anything and has no work to do, the only other thing they can really do is use their iPad. iPads and cell phones have similar capabilities such as games and social media apps. The restriction of the usage cellphones in this sense seems pointless seeing as an iPad has the same abilities and what is the point of not allowing students who are doing well academically to use their phones when they have free time?

Another issue regarding cell phones could possibly be teachers using them during class. Even though some would not like to admit it, sometimes teachers use their phones during a period that they are teaching a class for non-educational purposes. The current cell phone policy regarding teachers is that they are asked to not use their phone while teaching and have it be out of sight, however it is not a set rule. During their prep periods and lunch they can use them freely. Although they are adults, cell phones still should not be a distraction to them while they are supposed to be instructing a class. It is the teacher’s job to instruct the class that they teach and not play around on their phones. The issue of letting students use their phones whereas teachers cannot may seem hypocritical, but in reality it is not. It is the teacher’s job to teach the students, so they should be teaching the class rather than being on their phones. If the students would only be allowed to use their phones during free periods, they would not be interrupting class.

Even though the school’s cell phone policy is fair, a way to push it to become better and to perhaps convince the student body to try harder in academia may be to implement a sort of “reward” regarding cell phone use where they may freely use their device during a free period. Allowing more freedom with cell phone usage to only students on the high honor roll may root out some of the issues with cell phones such as inappropriate usage. Overall, using a revised cell phone policy as a reward for students who maintain a ninety or above average may convince other students to try harder and refrain from using their cellphones.

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