MHS Headlight: Straight to voicemail. Students react to new cell phone policy

At the start of the new school year, the administration unveiled a new cell phone policy that required students to place their phones into a designated space before every class. The space is typically a plastic or cardboard box that is set up in a corner of the classroom.

A cell phone holder in school.

I created a poll to see how students at MHS reacted to these new changes. In the poll, I asked if they liked or disliked the changes, if they thought that they were necessary, and if they had impacted their education. 177 MHS students ended up taking the poll.

According to the poll, almost 70% of students dislike the new cell phone policy at MHS, and 73% of students felt that it is not necessary for learning. Additionally, about 59% said that it had impacted their education. While the new rule is supposed to create a better environment for students, some feel like they are missing out on a valuable learning opportunity.

“By taking our phones you’re not teaching personal responsibility,” one student said. “When we get jobs or go on to higher education many kids won’t be able to decide when they should use their phones.”

MHS is just one of thousands of schools that have taken a stance against phone use. In 2020, the National
Center for Education Statistics reported that 77% of U.S. schools had moved to prohibit cell phone use. A 2023 UN report recommended that smartphones should be banned in order to stop classroom disruptions and improve learning.

But some experts believe that we should learn to teach with tech and not against it. Even though most students are not in favor, others think that these changes could be helpful in the long term.

“I would say that these changes might help my academic performance,” said Breydan Callahan, a sophomore at MHS. Most people would agree that removing distractions from the classroom could potentially boost student performance.

It also appears that most of the teachers at MHS approve of the rule change. “I am definitely in favor of the rule changes, and I have only seen positive results,” said Mr. Christensen, the Studio Production teacher at MHS.

He believes that the phone policy is having positive effects in his classroom, but it has also changed the way that he teaches.

“Students can no longer use their phones to play music for our productions, ” he said.

Other students have brought up the issue of potentially losing their property.

“Sometimes I forget to collect my phone after class,” said Zach Pike, a student at MHS. “I have to go back during my next class to go get it, and I miss class time.” This is an issue that many students have encountered when navigating the new phone rules at MHS.

“Sometimes I worry that someone will take my phone from the bin by accident, and it will be hard for me to find it,” said EJ Wyman, a student at MHS. He is not the only one who feels this way. Many students at MHS have echoed his concerns about potentially losing their cell phones.

As the school year continues, we will start to find out if these concerns have any merit and if any changes will be made to the policy to address them. MHS students will either get used to and accept the new phone policy, or they will continue to begrudgingly hand in their cell phones at the start of every class.

MHS Headlight reporter Grey Collins
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