The school updated the cell phone policy due to complaints from the community and changes in use of technology. Administrators, led by Principal Kimberly Boldon, made this change over the summer during a meeting.
The current policy is that students can use their cell phones in the halls between class and during lunch, but once in the classroom, each school department has a different and more specific set of rules. Students are not allowed to bring their phones to the restroom.
Due to all the different policies for each class, Security Team Leader Chris Pucciarelli believes that everything could get a bit confusing. “The new policy is causing a lot of confusion.. When I first started working with MCPS 20 years ago, if you had a cellphone out, you were suspended for a few days. Now you can have them out in lunch or the hallway,” Pucciarelli said.
Just because the rules have become more lenient does not mean teachers will not enforce the rules. Teachers are able to take away phones from students who do not comply with their rules. “I’ve had teachers give phones to me,” Pucciarelli said, “The second time your phone gets taken from you, your parents have to pick up the phone, and when parents come to pick phones up, they don’t get upset at their student, they get mad at us.”
The policy change has caused mixed feelings among both the staff and students. Sophomore Luke Kim enjoys the new policy and likes how much variance there is between teachers. “I think the cell phone policy is good because each teacher has their own opinions and can change it however they want to,” Kim said.
Computer Science teacher Lindsay Roberts feels differently about the new cell phone policy. “I do not think students know how to use cell phones respectfully in class,” Roberts said. “If I could change it, I would want to be able to block certain things on your phone such as Snapchat or Instagram.”
This policy was changed just over the summer by the administration, and it was created so that teachers of different departments had the freedom to change rules however they please. The policy almost always differs from each class students walk into. “There is just such a big variance from class to class,” Pucciarelli said, “but this new policy is helping you adapt for the future to different people with different rules.”
The new cell phone policy is important because it affects any student who owns a phone. Currently, “about 92 percent of teens report going online daily,” the Pew Research Center states, “and 24 percent of those teens go online ‘almost constantly’.”
Although the new cell phone policy does not completely cut off all use of phones, students still only have limited use, which may be able to limit the percentage of teens who go online daily or limit the usage of cell phones each day.