Volume 31



Middle school institutes new cell phone policy

Tali Gurule ’27
Elliot Murphy ’27 poses with a cellphone on the Commons.

The administration instituted a new cell phone policy at the middle school this year. The school first released it in an email to all middle school students and parents on Aug. 16.

The policy discourages students from bringing their phones on campus, prohibits the use of headphones for non-academic purposes and bans purchases using electronic ID cards to increase student interaction and address their mental health.

Head of Middle School Jon Wimbish said the absence of cell phones fosters social connections between students.

“What we really want with our mental health and wellness plan is for students to connect with each other and not have that device be a barrier,” Wimbish said.

Dean Department Head Karen Fukushima said headphones inhibit students from forming relationships.

“If someone has headphones on, it’s less likely people will talk to that person,” Fukushima said. “It creates a barrier and that’s a missed opportunity for friendship.”

Ninth-grade senator Charlotte Im ’27 said she does not think headphones minimize the social aspect of school. She said she has seen students wear headphones to make themselves feel more at ease while interacting with peers.

“I’ve noticed a lot of students wear headphones when they’re communicating with a friend,” Im said. “They don’t exactly block out communication and some students even feel more comfortable when they’re wearing headphones.”

The administration revoked detentions as a consequence of using phones during school hours. Instead, the student’s dean will confiscate the phone until the end of the school day. A parent must retrieve the phone from campus if multiple violations occur.

Middle School Administrative Assistant Tim Smith said students have abided by the new policy to avoid the consequence of multiple offenses.

“Not many phones have been taken,” Smith said. “Having to have a parent come pick up the phone for a second offense seems to be pretty convincing to aid in compliance.”

Stella Bae ’28 said her long commute to school would discourage her parents from retrieving her phone if it were ever taken away after multiple violations.

“I live at least an hour and a half drive from school,” Bae said. “I feel like getting my phone taken away isn’t a good enough reason for my parents to drive all the way over here.”

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About the Contributor
Tali Gurule, Editor
Tali Gurule ’27 is an editor and reporter on the Spectrum. Gurule is passionate about news reporting. “I love uncovering compelling stories and sharing them with the Harvard-Westlake community,” Gurule said. Gurule also co-writes Wolverweek, a weekly column about life at the Middle School. Gurule enjoys many leadership positions at Harvard-Westlake. In addition to being editor of the Spectrum, she is co-chair of the student ambassador program and a leader of LAHSO and JCAAC.
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