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Probational Cell Phone Policy Unfairly Burdens Students

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In response to student and staff requests for a more lenient cell phone policy, the administration announced in March that cell phones will temporarily be allowed during brunch and lunch. Fourth quarter will be used as a trial period to determine the effectiveness of the new policy. The administration will be paying attention to whether or not cell phone usage in classrooms increases.

The administration’s attention to student voices is commendable, and students need to respect the opportunity they have been given. But if the administration measures the success of the trial period based on the number of phones confiscated, they will be setting impossible standards and measuring the policy unfairly and inaccurately.

As many teachers did not enforce the guidelines of the cell phone policy prior to the trial period, they were reminded to abide by the rules and actively confiscate cell phones during class and passing periods. Principal Wynne Satterwhite said that after the program had run its course, the administration would “see whether or not there [was] an increase in violation” and then make further plans on revising the actual policy.

There is no problem with acknowledging the importance of adhering to the policy.  In fact, the new system makes sense–students shouldn’t be using phones in class, especially with increased freedom during brunch and lunch. However, using the number of confiscated phones in determining the policy’s effectiveness puts students at a disadvantage by setting them up for failure.

By telling previously lax teachers to enforce the original policy, the number of cell phones confiscated will inevitably increase. Moreover, students have experienced the results of the policy’s enforcement; Satterwhite reported an overall increase in the number of cell phone confiscations since the start of the trial period. That increase is not an accurate measure of the policy’s effectiveness because staff members are being stricter about the cell phone policy than they used to be.

Still, students need to do their part in ensuring the effectiveness of the policy. By demonstrating responsibility and respecting the rules, students can increase chances of continuing the policy.

By changing multiple variables in the experiment–the loosening of cell phone regulations along  with the crackdown on cell phone usage in class–the administration cannot accurately measure whether the policy worked. Regardless, the new cell phone policy  should be implemented in the future.

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The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California
Probational Cell Phone Policy Unfairly Burdens Students