Is Our Phone Policy Satisfactory?

An older cell phone model

"Cellular Destruction" by drp is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The CHS phone policy is causing quite the confusion among teachers and students alike, with very open-ended rules and regulations on phones that are left completely up to teacher preference.

Jerel LaLone, Writer

The start of the 2022-23 school year has been Capital’s most interesting one yet; with this year being the first one that is both unmasked and in-person. For many, including myself, this is very exciting, but with this comes the return of school policies, the change of them, or even the addition of new school policies given certain circumstances that had occurred the year prior. There have been a few of these policies this year that are currently being discussed by students and teachers alike, but the one, in particular, that is a controversial topic is that of the CHS phone policy. As each school year passes, phones and other electronics are becoming more prevalent in the classroom, and because of that are becoming more of a distraction to the learning environment, causing teachers to constantly monitor kids and ensure that their own classroom rules along with school policy will create a better working environment for everyone.

However, this policy has caused quite the headache for people around the school as it allows for the individual teacher to dictate how phones will be treated within the classroom, with some groups of people feeling that we need a linear and clearly laid out phone policy, and others believing that we should ignore the policy and allow kids to use phones at their own risk. After all, it is their education they’d be risking to send that extra text, right? This policy has come with a variety of different reactions, from those believing that it is the best phone policy that Capital has had yet, and others believing it only brings more confusion to their school lives. It is important that CHS creates a policy that will benefit most people, especially considering that our own policies should not create a headache for students. 

Now, while this rule may seem confusing to some it has actually stemmed from many years of lackluster or arguably worse phone policies. The policy has been changed in some way nearly each school year, with this one being our most recent and “one of the better” versions of our policy, according to CHS Councilor, Joel Komschlies. 

Any student who had been at CHS for a prolonged period of time would likely agree to some extent with this statement as there had been much worse phone policies the years prior to this one, but that still doesn’t make up for our current one still bringing confusion and questions from teachers and students alike.

CHS teacher, Brian Vandivier believes, “without a consistent policy, it’s harder on students as well…” and that, “It feels like it’s getting harder every year to control it,” when it comes to phone usage in the classroom.

The question still remains though, would it be easier for a linear phone policy? 

Once again, Brian Vandivier believes “students would understand the expectations and teachers would understand the expectations as well” in regards to changing to a linear policy.

Though there are so many “What ifs?” Regarding this situation, even a linear policy could cause trouble for both students and teachers. So what should we do? 

Brian Vandivier would say that “We need to teach them (the students) now what is appropriate use of the phone…time, place, and manner is a good way to say it. There isn’t a set rule for almost anything in life, so how do we teach them? When you come into class and the class starts, put them away…but to ask students to have them put away at all times I don’t think that’s gonna work…I think we’re just past a linear school policy because different teachers are going to teach what’s different in their class, time, place, and manner.” 

Creating a linear policy for our school wouldn’t work, but potentially teaching kids the concept of time, place, and manner for phone use could be more beneficial to them in the real world than any phone policy could be in general.

It is safe to say that this is a complex topic as there are so many different viewpoints on it, along with multiple different solutions that could be posed for it that vary between teachers and CHS staff alike. It is certainly likely that this policy will be at CHS to stay for the remainder of the year whether anyone likes it or not, but is this subject to change in the next school year? Only time will be able to tell as we continue to change as a school, with technology only continuing to enter our lives more and more.