Are Cell Phone Policies Effective in Schools?

Patricia Jones, Co-business Manager/Staff Writer

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Should students be able to be on their phones during school?   This is a hot topic in schools.  It’s one of the primary issues in the classroom for teachers and one of the biggest factors in student success.  Teacher, Kathy Jo Elkins said, “It depends on what they are doing in class, if they are working independently and the headphones keep them focused, then that’s fine.” Another teacher, Kristy Carter said, “I think there are times when it is okay for students to be on their phones, as long as it’s not distracting them from their work they should be doing in class.” For this topic, all teachers that were interviewed said the same thing- when it is the appropriate time, and as long as they are focused.

When students were asked, they all had the same answer as well. Junior, Eihn Conner said, “There should be times and places where we should not be on our phones and then there should be places where we should.” Sophomore, Cody Kirk said, “Yes, because it can be good learning, if you have a learning app or something, it can help you with your school work.” Students also all said the same thing – yes we should be able to.

So if everyone agrees that they can be used appropriately, then what is the issue.  Students and teachers were asked if they feel students get more distracted when being on their phone. Sophomore, Cody Kirk said “No if, not if they’re doing the right thing like doing the actual school work they need to be doing”. Junior, Eihn Conner said, “No, because if you use your phone for your work how are you gonna be distracted?”

Teachers, however, see them as a possible distraction.  Teacher, Kristy Carter said, “Yeah I think that it can, they can get off topic sometimes and forget what they are supposed to be doing, so it can be good and it can be bad.”   Kathy Jo Elkins said, “It depends on what they are doing on their phones, if they’re listening to music, no, if they are texting, using Instagram or taking pictures of themselves, then yes, they are distracted while they’re supposed to be doing work.”   The jury is still out but one thing is certain.  The cell phone debate isn’t going away any time soon.  It’s up to teachers and students to come to an agreement about acceptable and appropriate usage.