The current Windsor High School electronic/cell phone policy has been in place since last year and has done a great job so far in keeping students not only happy but focused in the school environment. The policy states that students can not use their cell phones during class time unless their teacher permits. The only other time students can use their cell phone or any other electronics besides the provided school Chromebook is during the five minute passing times and in the cafeteria during their lunch block. If a student is caught using their phone or another electronic device at an undesignated time, the device must be confiscated and follow the disciplinary protocol. The extent of these consequences varies with the number of offenses.
However, school administrators are rethinking this electronics/cell phone policy and planning to change it for the second semester of the 2018-2019 school year. What this new policy entails is still up in the air right now. Mr. Osunde, the Windsor High School principal, is in the process of creating a committee of both students and staff members to meet during the week of exams to determine the new guidelines of the policy. Students of Windsor High School are outraged by even the idea of a new electronics/cell phone policy being created as they believe the current policy is perfect just the way it is.
The two main reasons that administrators are deciding to change the policy is because they believe students have become less engaged in class due to their electronic devices and they have seen an increase of “drama” occurring between students due to their phone usage.
It is a proven fact that having cell phones in class lowers the engagement of the student. According to the findings of Jeffrey Kuznekoff, a student at Ohio University, “When the usage of cell phones is abused, students may be subject to performing worse in classes.”
However, students are not allowed to use their cellphone during class time, so there is no reason cell phones could decrease the level of engagement in the classroom. If anything having cell phones makes students more engaged because if teachers allow, students can use cell phones if their Chromebook is not charged or if the student did not bring it to school that day. This allows students to perform certain tasks such as a survey or a Kahoot so they do not miss classwork. Students can also use their phone to check their grades easier on the PowerSchool app than if they were to on their Chromebook. By allowing students to use these cellphones, teachers are redirecting students’ minds back on academics and letting them receive a high-quality education.
Furthermore, the prohibition of cell phones will only make students more inclined to use them at inappropriate times. Because of social media and games being a integral aspect for this generation, students just cannot stay away from their screens. According to the Pew Research Center, ¨78 percent of Americans aged 12 to 17 have cell phones.¨ In addition, The Student Pulse Survey reported ¨94 percent of students in a recent survey said they want to use their cell phones in class for academic purposes.¨ With or without a policy giving access to cell phones students will more than likely still use them. This may lead to even more distraction in class because students will have to think of ways to hide their phone instead of actually thinking about their assignments. There may also be an increase of write-ups because students will be getting in more trouble for using their cell phones.
However, if they could use their devices during passing time or lunch they would not feel the need to do so. Students who are being written up for violation of the electronics policy will receive an In-School Suspension that causes the students to miss more class time and learn less.
The cell phone policy may also change because administrators have seen an increase of drama and problems arising between students as their access to cellphones increases. Administrators believe that because students are able to access social media during school, students are able to spread rumors and gossip easier. This will then cause drama to be created and have students become upset with each other and may result in a physical altercation. Osunde says, “One of the things that we take a look at is the role of cell phones when it relates to social media and school drama…. For me, if the reduction in access to cell phones will have a positive impact on reducing the whole social media drama it is worth investigating.”
Administrators are not wrong in some respect. Social media can have a negative impact on students’ lives as it can be a platform for cyberbullying, spreading rumors, and creating drama. However, the drama will spread with cell phones or without them. Gossip spreads like wildfire and can just as easily be spread throughout the school environment with a new policy as it spreads now with the current policy. Moreover, without cell phones being accessible during the school day students can still hear about drama once school is over. Once students leave the school building they can still hear about gossip via social media, instant messaging, or calls.
This may have an even more negative effect on students as after-school students may not have a strong support team as they do when they are in school. In school students always have the opportunity to talk to their friends, a teacher, or a guidance counselor about drama and hopefully resolve their issue. However, after school, if a student is not close to their family they are alone and cannot talk to anyone about their problems. This prohibits students from resolving the drama they may face and may just make the problem worse than it should have been.
Overall, administrators of Windsor High School should just keep the current policy in place as it does not affect engagement in classrooms and will make students be less affected by the drama they may come across in the school environment.