For the 2019-2020 school year, Las Lomas has implemented a new cell phone policy. Students are unable to use their phones during class time, including in the classroom and the hallway. Students are only permitted to use their phones before school, during brunch, lunch, passing periods, and after school. Within the school, teachers’ policies vary. In some classes, the teachers allow students to keep their phones at their desks. In other cases teachers require students to keep their phones in their backpacks at the front of the classroom. Other teachers enforce this policy by placing phones in cubbies at the front of the room.
According to Ms. Munroe, an English teacher, Las Lomas implemented this policy to address administration and teachers’ concerns regarding the use of phones as a distraction from learning, a way for students to cheat on tests and assignments, and a source of anxiety. When students possess their phone during class, many spend time texting and surfing the internet instead of learning. Additionally, students have used their phones to look up answers for tests and assignments. Educators and health professionals across the U.S. are also concerned that too much cell phone use leads to stress and anxiety.
Overall, teachers at Las Lomas believe that this is a beneficial policy for the classroom. Ms. Halle, a Physics teacher at Las Lomas, uses the cubby policy and said that “it is working great! I have my students trade their phone for one of my calculators everyday when they enter the classroom, and this policy ensures that all students have a working calculator every day and don’t have to worry about their phone throughout class.” Meanwhile, in Munroe’s class, students place their phones in their backpacks at the front of the room. She is very excited about this new cell phone policy. “Now that it is a school-wide policy with more consistency throughout the campus, I am not one of a smaller group of teachers struggling to keep students and cell phones apart. With everyone participating, the expectations are clear, and eventually, I believe students will simply accept the policy as an everyday part of school life.”
In addition to teachers, students also feel favorable about the new cell phone policy. According to Ms. Halle, students’ feedback to her “has been positive. A majority of students have realized how much more productive and engaged they are without their phone on them at all times, which I think is wonderful.” Based on her feedback so far about this new policy, students and teachers will continue to experience its benefits.