PMD policy brings new rules for phones


Photo by Ellie Mollica

Junior Erin McGinness uses her advisory period to catch up on Instagram after not using her phone throughout the morning.

From the start of the school year, the word “PMD’s” have been circulating throughout the halls and classrooms. Personal mobile devices, or PMD’s, are now required to be put away during instructional time. In an attempt to increase focus in classes, all MCPS schools now have a restriction in place against personal mobile device use during the school day. 

New Principal Douglas Nelson describes the new policy as a benefit to students. “The PMD policy is attempting to help students focus on instruction in the classroom. The way that we are doing this is that we are requesting for students to have PMD’s out of sight in class,” Nelson said. 

When seen in class without instruction to do so, the student may be asked to put it away, have a conversation with caregivers or even get a referral to administration.

Differing from the rules last year, the new PMD policy requires all electronic devices that could be distracting to be put away. This includes all devices except the school issued Chromebook.  Junior Madison Moorhead is not enjoying her experience with the new policy in regards to last year’s regulations. “I think this rule may be helpful to some but for me personally and others having to sneak a glance at a PMD is a lot more distracting or feeling you got a text but not being able to check it makes it very hard to focus on the class,” Moorhead said. 

Not only is the transition from last year’s school rules difficult, but so is the transition from middle school rules to high school rules. Freshman Emily Johnson is adjusting to the rule. “The policy is a lot  stricter this year than it used to be because last year we were allowed to have our phone just on our desk or in our pocket,” Johnson said.

After the pandemic, students returned from being on their electronic devices almost every part of the day. The purpose of this new policy is to change the way that students focus on their coursework, and to help the student do better in school. Principal Nelson hopes the new policy will help students start to go back to normal after the pandemic. “Post pandemic, when students came back after a year of basically being out of buildings, and then we return to a year in which we were in and out of buildings rather that being at home and having greater unfettered access to phones meant that students returned to us basically where they were, from that space,” Nelson said.

Students have a range of viewpoints on this policy. Moorhead said that the rules were, “kind of harsh because while some teachers don’t like you to have your phones out, some are OK with it,” Moorhead said. 

Johnson said at first, she “thought it was really inconvenient, but it does help with wanting to be on it during class,” Johnson said.