By Shantell Kuykendall
As quickly as a cell phone clatters away alerting its owner of a new message a teacher might swing past that phone and swipe it up for their collection.
In the student handbook the phone policy for Umatilla High School in 2016 is straightforward. “Personal electronic devices are to be put away and turned off during class time unless otherwise directed by teacher for educational purposes. Electronic devices may be used during passing time and breaks.”
Some students understand the purpose of the cell phone police. “It makes the kids focus more on the task at hand, and listen what your teacher is teaching,” said Ms. Gwen Wynn, a sophomore student at UHS.
Ms. Wynn says the policy puts a strain on students and their ability to communicate in an important situation. She doesn’t like “that [teachers] take [phones] away,” Ms. Wynn said. “Some kids might be waiting for an important phone call or text message but they can’t see it because it was taken away for the whole day.”
But for teachers the reason for trying to clamp down on phone use is simple.
“Less of a distraction for kids,” was the same reason from Sonia Ego, a UHS math teacher and Counselor Dee Lorence.
However, Mrs.Ego and Mrs.Lorence have different opinions on what they dislike about the school’s cell phone rules. “The students get to use them out of class,” Mrs. Ego said was her dislike with the phone policy. Mrs.Lorence found no issues with the rules as they stand.
It might be distraction during class time but some students are wondering why teachers have been snatching phones during some assemblies. “You should be able to record and take pictures at fun assemblies but if the assembly is important they should be put away.” said Ms. Wynn.
Mrs. Lorence agreed with the students when it came to phones and assemblies. Mrs. Ego had different opinion on the subject because students are not respecting the rules in other parts of the school. “If they could respect it I would be cool with them recording something funny,” Mrs. Ego said.
Policies at UHS are able to change if they are brought to the school’s site council. Ms. Wynn has her own personal suggestion. “I would change it so phones are allowed on your desk if its on vibrate,” Ms. Wynn said.
Mrs. Ego has her own suggestion for the rules, “If I could change something about the phone policy it would be that parents pick [the phone] up instead of students when it’s taken away.” Mrs. Ego said.
The opinions about cell phones in the school are about as varied as the number of different phones that exist but in 2016 is seems the debate will continue to be talked… and texted about.