Webster has incorporated a new phone policy for high school students: cell phones maybe used before school, during passing periods, during lunch and after school.
“We realize that parents text, and we would rather have students respond outside of school,” said Dr. Jon Clark. “We’re hoping that since we’re allowing students to text during passing periods and lunch, there will be fewer disruptions and distractions in class. We also realize that phone usage is a learning tool. Some students put test dates on their calendar or put alerts in their phones.”
The consequences for texting during class, especially during a test, are much higher. If a student is caught texting or even has a phone out at all during a test, the new phone policy states the student will receive a zero on the test, a referral to the office and depending on the teacher, could get their phone taken away or their parents called.
“I think that it doesn’t really change anything,” said junior, Sarah Hoffer. “It makes what we’ve been doing for years okay. Last year we didn’t get in trouble-we got warnings. I personally only received warnings, even if it was from the same teacher.”
Though phones, along with other valuables, are still highly discouraged by administrators from being brought to school, administrators have realized students will continue to not only bring phones but also use them.
“Students have to make sure they protect their [valuables] during school, with a problem of theft. If you can’t protect your valuables, don’t bring them,” said Clark.
“I’m definitely scared to leave my stuff in a room,” said Hoffer. “Even whenI go to the bathroom, I bring my phone and purse. You shouldn’t bring something school you can’t watch out for. I always bring my phone and purse to school because I need them but I always watch out for them.”The policy also states that headphones are still not allowed in the hall or during passing periods and are only allowed in the class room with teacher’s permission. “Students often either couldn’t hear us [teachers and administrators] with the headphones on or they were ignoring us,” said Dr. Clark. “We wanted to make sure that students were alert and could talk to us.”
The policy says that if students are caught with headphones during passing periods or in classes where a teacher has not previously stated that headphone use would be allowed, would result in a teacher or administrator asking students to please take the headphones off. Repeated offenses could warrant students receiving a referral to the office or a detention.
“Even if headphones aren’t allowed, people are still going to wear them in the hallways, and it will be the same lassiez-faire atmosphere that it’s always been,” said Hoffer. “Kids are still going to keep their phones under desks and books. Teachers who hate texting will still hate texting, and teachers who allow it will still allow it.”
“I hope students will follow the new guidelines and that students will utilize that time well, with no distractions [regarding texting and headphones] in class,” said Clark