Staff, students discuss new cell phone policy


Vivian Richey, Writing Wizard

Once the proper supplies are delivered to staff members, Parkway North will begin implementing a new cell phone policy. The new policy will be a system that includes a red sign for no cell phone usage allowed, a yellow sign for cell phone usage is allowed for specific reasons, and a green sign that for cell phones allowed, teachers can change them according to what is taking place in class at that time.
“Frankly, I would prefer that cell phones not be allowed in school at all. I think it would be the best policy to tell kids to keep their phones at home and people can reach them through the teachers’ phones at school or their Chromebooks,” said science teacher Rob Kaminsky.
While completely banning cell phone usage in the building would eliminate the obstacle of distraction, students have concerns regarding the safety and practicality of this idea and have their own reasons why they use their phones during class. Some may use their phones for urgent matters, but some students tend to struggle with their phones as an involuntary distraction.
“There are many reasons why phones should be a part of school. For many students, it is used as a tracking device so parents know their location, and if there is an emergency you have easy access to the internet,” said senior Samantha Demicheli.
Due to the past year, students have gotten used to doing everything electronically. This poses the issue now of breaking this habit and being focused on the task at hand without distractions.
“For the past couple of years, everything has been moved to digital alternatives. For example, you can now order lunch, join conference calls, and take notes on the same device. I think that because of this, teachers are seeing a rise in phone usage because of the environment we are in now where phones are so essential,” said Demicheli.
According to the District Administration website, nearly 70 percent of high school students and 25 percent of middle schoolers have their own phones and use them daily.
“I think that the urge to look at a phone can be very strong. [Students] won’t even be thinking that they’re gonna look at their phone; they just do it. I was lucky enough to have grown up without a phone, so I have that introspection to realize that I’m not being productive,” said science teacher Rob Kaminsky.
Even though students have grown up with cell phones, they may not realize when an appropriate time to use them is. Teachers have seen the misuse of phones during class more this year and are implementing this policy to help set clear guidelines about when cell phone usage is appropriate.

“It depends on which section of the class, but I have noticed that sometimes phones can be an issue with students in group work or especially in my public speaking or debate classes if we are listening. They can be a real impediment to being able to hear what somebody else is saying and then respond effectively,” said communication arts teacher Megan McCorkle.
Another alternative policy idea was for teachers to confiscate phones either once class begins or once students prove that having access to their phones during class provides more problems than not having them. This would be a simple solution, but this policy also comes with its own issues regarding liability.
“I know that some students really do feel uncomfortable with their phone in the hands of their teacher and some teachers may not want to take responsibility for students’ devices,” said Demicheli.
Multiple cell phone policies have been put in place in the past, but none have proved to be especially effective or remained to be the continuous policy. With the new policy, consequences are spelled out in an attempt to curb this issue and teach students the proper times to use their phones.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people grew up with phones. There’s always been a phone to like if you’re bored or like you don’t have anything to do. We have a whole generation who has pretty much grown up with smartphones and not able to be alone with their thoughts for very long,” said Kaminsky.
Administrators hope for the new cell phone policy is that students will be able to focus in class and not have as many distractions holding them back from doing their work, while still allowing students to remain responsible for their belongings.