Cell Phone Controversy Calls Out Students

Cell Phone Controversy Calls Out Students

Picture this: You arrive at school all stressed out thinking that you left your history project at home. You have five minutes until assembly, and you need a quick way to reach your parents. You pop out your smartphone, and frantically text your mom. Before you get any reply, a faculty member comes by, snatches away your phone, and reminds you of the phone policy.

Was this diligence about trying to get your homework to class really a bad thing? The ODA cell phone policy strictly says that cell phones are not allowed to be out from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. even during free periods.

The subject of cell phone use during school has fostered lots of controversy lately–from students who insist it’s their preferred computer, to teachers who are terrified that cell phones will be a powerful distraction from learning.

“I don’t see the need for cell phones during classes because their such a distraction, however, I think they are fine during breaks, ” says junior, Mariah Korzenok.

“I think the current policy is very good. Cell phones are distracting and encourage students to tune out socially. Cell phones were permitted at my old school where I taught except during class and I found it depressing to see so many students stare into their screens instead of socializing with one another,” says Mr. Bernsen, history teacher.

Some teachers and students, however, find instances when cell phones can support learning.

Bolt reporters Cassandra Ratzlaff ’14, Carson Jungars ’15, and Kimmy Comito ’15 use the phones in Journalism class to take pictures and upload videos, a necessary part of the class and their role as reporters for an online paper.

Students claim that cell phone prohibition interferes with their ability to communicate with their parents and check emails, something faculty members encourage students to do. Many wonder how bad can it be for students to have their phones out during lunch, or even free periods, as long as they promise to keep their phones away during class. Students point out that they are allowed to have laptops out during school hours, which can be just as distracting as phones.

Another point that students make is that faculty have been known to be critical of students not checking emails enough. It’s true. Many students rarely check emails. Some point out that they don’t check their emails as much because their phone is not readily available to check.

“It takes so much effort to take your computer out, while your phone is so easy to just grab and check your emails,” says Natalie Buffett.

Let’s hope that for the future faculty and student’s can make a compromise and figure out a solution, so that cell phones can be included in the rich technological experience that is part of the Out-of-Door Academy experience.