At Oakdale High School, the cell phone policy is simple; cell phones are allowed to be turned on and used before or after school, during brunch, lunch and passing times, but must be turned off and put away during class time.
The policy states that students must have their cell phones turned off and put away during class, and if a student violates this rule, the cell phone will be confiscated and returned to the student's parents.
Normally, however, teachers warn students to put away their phonesseveral times before the rule is enforced.
Jon Byron, an English II and III teacher expressed his opinion on the policy: "While the policy can seem harsh from a student's perspective, I think that the larger issue is how we as a school, students and teachers alike, need to acknowledge that there are or can be appropriate uses for cell phones in class."
Asked to explain what he means, Byron responded with a question.
"I mean, why shouldn't students be able to use smart phones to do some quick relevant research?" He goes on to state that "problems arise when phones are a distraction from what is going on in the class."
His solution? "If we embrace the technology and include in the class activities, then it could be a tool for teachers and students to use rather than a distraction."
Byron does have a point, with expensive technology presented at schools such as smart boards, iPads and laptops, it's not a completely improbable idea to stretch the cell phone policy, allowing students to use their cell phones for educational purposes.
-- Katelyn Roudebush, Teens in the Newsroom Program
Concerning phones on campus at Hughson High School, our policy is that if a phone is seen or heard during class, then the teacher or supervisor should take the phone. The student then receives a detention and his or her parents must pick up the phone.
"Phones are everywhere we live in a technology world," said teacher Kaci Brazil. Students and staff agree that phones are not a necessity, but they pose lots of benefits. From helping in emergencies to aiding with time management, phones have many benefits.
"Today's smart phones could be used as a virtual planner. I'm constantly checking my phone for messages, making reminders and checking thetime," said senior class representative Justin Denio.
Teachers and staff agree that phones can be used as beneficial education devices. "Somehow, we need to push for phones to serve as a benefit in the future," said Assistant Principal Jim Schuller. Before this can happen, though, students would have to commit to using their phones only for their studies.
"Lots of students think we're being too strict about phone use," Principal Debra Davis said. "But the fact is that most other schools are much stricter than our own."
So students are going to have to make a choice: Sacrifice constant messaging and social media to provide a more futuristic education or suffer the lengthy process of giving up our cherished phones to the hand of the higher power.
-- Mark Borges, Teens in the Newsroom Program
Principal Amy Peterman of Central Valley High School has proved her school is keeping up with technology by establishing a strict policy on cell phone use.
Peterman explained that cell phones and other electronic devices are "not at all allowed during school hours" and are a distraction to users as well as their peers. At the first offense of cell phone use, the device is confiscated and held until the following Friday, or until a parent comes and picks it up from the office.
If the student is penalized for asecond time, the cellular device is confiscated and held until the second Friday, or until a parent retrieves it from the office. Upon the third offense and beyond, the device is held in the office for three weeks, or the duration of the semester. Peterman also explained that administrators "stay true to the policy and are very consistent about it," confiscating cell phones any time they see them.
Administrative assistant Nicole Chapman explained that Central Valley established a cell phone policy not only because it is a requirement in the state education code, but administrators also wanted to stop further problems that phones tend to create in an educational environment, such as cheating, bullying through texting and social media Web sites, as well as arranging fights during school hours.
The education code states that students may possess the devices, but not use them at any time during the school day.
I am proud that Central Valley is following through with its strict policy.
-- Gabriella Germann, Teens in the Newsroom Program
Ever have one of those moments when you're sitting in your oh-so-comfortable theater chair, munching on popcorn and trying to enjoy a great film, when someone's cell phone rings or the vibration and blinding light of a text message shatters the magic?
That's bad enough at the movies, let alone in a classroom. Try focusing enough to learn with that distraction coming from the desk next to you. That is why the faculty and administration at Ripon Christian decided to reform its policy regarding cell phone use. Here are the new rules for students:
b>1. We can carry cell phones, but they must be turned off and put away during all class periods.
2. We may use our cell phones between classes, during morning break and at lunchtime, but ONLY in the hallways. We may never use our phones in classrooms or our performing arts center.
3. Violations of Rules 1 and 2 will result in the following:
a. First violation equals cell phone taken and returned after 24 hours and a $5 fine
b. Second and third violations equal cell phone taken and returned after three days and a $5 fine.
c. Fourth and fifth violations equal cell phones taken and returned (to parents) after one calendar week.
d. Six-plus violations equal loss of all cell phone use privileges.
e. Any violation after the tardy bell rings will include a tardy.
f. If the first through third violations include a Friday, the cell phone will be kept over the weekend.
Teachers are cracking down. Because we have the freedom to use our phones during breaks, we don't really feel the need to use them in class anymore. This policy change is a sort of test run, and if we students prove that we can handle the responsibilities that accompany this freedom, then it will be here to stay. I haven't seen a person texting under his or her desk in class since the change. Kudos to you, RC board. You're all geniuses.
-- Emily Hoeksema, Teens in the Newsroom Program