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  • Writer's pictureThe Eagle

Ring-Ring! New Phone Policy Calling

by Oliver Maul - Eagle Staff writer

From students to faculty, all share a variety of opinions on the new phone policy put into effect this year. While many disagree with the policy, some teachers and students agree with it. For some, it has made it a bit harder to work within classrooms and offices. Others refuse to follow the policy, resulting in punishments such as ISS or even OSS.

Superintendent of Franklin County Public Schools Dr. Kevin Siers stated ,“The intent of the policy is to keep students focused on academic content and reduce the amount of phone related disruptions to the instructional day.”

Students have grown up with technology and many are having difficulty taking a break from their devices to focus on other things. Lee Frye, business teacher, shared his opinion: “Students do spend too much time on electronics both in school and outside school. They should take more time socializing with friends, reading books, and being active rather than having their heads on the screen of an electronic device."

Teacher Audrey Fizer feels COVID has played a role in technology dependence. (Photo by Oliver Maul).

Some think COVID has made technology attachment problems for children and adults a lot worse. Government/history teacher Audrey Fizer explained, “I think COVID was a huge factor in this because we spent so much of not just the spring of 2020 but so much of that next school year where you were at home on your device and checking in with your friends all the time. I think it was just harder to adjust, to walk away from.”

Although many teachers agree with the policy, students have very strong opinions on it. Charlie Dunton, a 12th grader, shared, “I think it’s awful. We have had our phones all year and we are being punished for the freshmen last year who were irresponsible."

There should be room for exceptions related to grade or specific class tasks, Dunton elaborated. "I feel like upperclassmen should have the opportunity not to do this. I feel like there should be more exceptions, especially for classes like Eagle Tech where you need to have this or if you need to make a call or you need to make sure your ride is there. It shouldn’t be like “no phones ever."

Yellow zones for phones have been replaced by red zones for all classrooms in the division. (Photo by Oliver Maul)

Ethan Cole, a 12th grader seconded this opinion. “I don’t agree with it necessarily. I feel like [administrators] need to be more strict with phones but there are better ways to go about it. The superintendent that made it - well, that enforced it - I do agree that it should be more strict, but he should give teachers more leeway”.

Even with the negative opinions on the policy, some students admit there are places phones just shouldn't be. Emory Cypher, a 9th grader, said, "Students should not be allowed to have their phones in the bathroom when excused from class.”

Many students agreed that teachers should have more discretion over phone use. “I feel like it should be up to the teachers on whether or not they allow phones in class...I do not agree or disagree with the policy because I think it should be different. It should be up to the teachers," Cypher said.

As for the policy's future, it's unlikely that it will be going away anytime soon. Siers explained, “The longevity of the policy is a School Board decision… it will be in effect for as long as it is needed. Many school divisions only recently removed guidelines for beepers and pagers, so these types of policies usually stick around for a long time.”

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