By Alison Oh ’19
Under this year’s new cell phone policy, students are only allowed to use their cellular devices for school purposes during first through eighth periods. Any calls to parents must be conducted in a dean’s office. The policy is a change from previously less restrictive regulations.
The policy has been in the works since last winter when a general rise in cell phone usage on campus prompted discussion about new regulations.
“There weren’t any specific events [that caused the policy change]. I think it was just a general sense of cell phone use over the course of the year, starting from the beginning of the year when we announced and tried to characterize the idea of the one-to-one policy for laptops at school,” Head of the Middle School Jon Wimbish said.
Although the middle school deans and Wimbish were the most involved in the actual crafting of the policy, all members of the school community had a part in its creation.
“Last year, we polled students, we surveyed faculty, we surveyed parents and attended local schools to see what their policies were. In a way, everyone in the community was given a part in the decision,” Wimbish said.
Students were informed about the policy before school started in September. Responses from returning students have been largely negative.
Some students are unhappy that they are no longer able to use the ID app or iHW, the scheduling app.
“It’s annoying because we use our cell phones for our IDs and to see all the times that our next class is starting or ending and stuff. The scheduling app was really useful and I don’t want to have to buy new IDs all the time,” a student who wished to remain anonymous said.
Some students simply think that the new policy is not effective because of inconsistent, lackluster enforcement.
“Everyone’s still on their phones, and they just hide them when teachers come by […] I don’t really think that the new policy has worked,” another student who wished to remain anonymous said.
However, some students believe that the cell phone policy has been successful in reducing distractions around campus.
“I think it’s a good policy because cell phones can be very distracting, and it’s very easy to get lost in them. Now there are fewer temptations to procrastinate and put off work,” Isabella Yanover ’19 said.
Other students believe the biggest concern is the question of what constitutes proper cell phone usage under the new policy. Some students think the guidelines are too vague and should be further clarified.
“I was just showing my friends some pictures I took for homework, and the librarians just took it away because they just assumed that I was using [my phone] badly. I think that’s a really bad assumption, and I think that’s not right,” Anthony Khaiat ’19 said.