Students & Teachers Conflicted with New Cell Phone Policy

Phone usage in class has been a recurring issue on campus and has stirred up conflict amongst students and teachers. 

Now they lay in cabinets, locked in drawers, even sitting in pouches hanging from the walls. The small hand-held devices we use on a regular basis to fulfill basic tasks are now being taken away to avoid learning distractions due to the enforcement of a new phone policy at Canyon Hills High School. 

CHHS Teacher Kaitlin Gundersen uses a calculator pouch as one of the many solutions against phone usage during class.

Phone pouch enforcing school phone policy
CHHS Teacher Kaitlin Gundersen uses a calculator pouch as one of the many solutions against phone usage during class. (Katherine Bui, CHHS)

Teachers and students stand on opposite sides of the wall regarding the new school wide policy. While the teachers on campus are fond of the idea of an engaging learning environment for all students, many believe it is a nag to have limited access to devices in class.

Many teachers are standing by the phone policy as an effort to build a connection with students and engagement in class.

“I think having a school wide phone policy is helpful because that means that all of the teachers are on the same page so then all the students know what is expected of them in every single classroom” Teacher Kaitlin Gundersen says.

For some students, there is confusion surrounding the policy because some classrooms do not enforce it as strongly as others.

“There is conflict when maybe one teacher says phones are okay and another says phones aren’t okay so then the students will be confused about that so this agreement everyone has come to will help with consistency” Gundersen explained.

On the students’ side of the school wide change, many are against the policy even if they understand the situation.

“I dislike the ban because it doesn’t stop me from doing well in school. I still get good grades in class, and the ban even stops us from listening to music in class and sometimes music helps people stay focused” 10th grade student Carolina Branco says.

Some believe that the ability and free reign teachers have over taking away cell phones crosses lines between staff and students.

“The policy is understandable yet stupid. It is a violation of students’ right to their own possessions if teachers are grabbing their devices. The most they should be able to do is ask them to put it away” 12th grade student Miguel Mea believes.

The cell phone policy was set to build class engagement, but students feel as though the policy has no effect relative to learning or grades.

“If a person has their phone out and they are not listening to a lecture, even if you take away the distraction, they are already not willing to pay attention so adding the policy changes nothing” 10th grade student Nicholas Batriz comments.

In some cases, students use phones to respond to parents or emergency calls, but with the new policy it is difficult to reach urgent problems. Many teachers tell students to keep their phones away and in their bags.

“My parents message me throughout the day and sometimes there is an emergency so I get in trouble if I don’t respond meaning there is no real point in keeping it in my bag” 10th grade student Lio Castaneda says.

Some students use “emergencies” as an excuse but there are real issues students have to respond to. It worries parents and causes trouble for students by forcing them to keep their devices in their bags.

Altogether, students and administrators have mixed opinions on whether or not the phone policy was the best decision. As a rule to prevent distractions, it brings the question many ask, are phones really the biggest distraction to Canyon Hills students?