LT teacher implements new phone-free classroom policy

Collette Doyle, Freelance reporter

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A new school policy authorizing students to stow cellphones during class has been implemented in classrooms to eliminate distraction and promote enhanced learning, focus, and socialization within students.

On Aug. 20, English II teacher Vikki Reid announced to all of her classes that she would now require students to store their cell phones in a storage compartment organizer at the beginning of class each day, Reid said. Failure to do so would result in the student’s cell phone being temporarily taken away, or, if a repeated offense, the student would be subject to a check-in phone policy at the AP office every day. Such consequences were deemed necessary by Reid to promote a productive learning environment.

“Focus is the key,” Reid said. “I can get through what I need to get through if people are more productive without [cell phones] in front of them. It allows me to achieve the objectives daily and it allows people to have better focus in the classroom.”

In prior years, Reid has seen the rise of social media, specifically Snapchat, correlate with increased cell phone usage in the classroom and decreased attention span within students, she said. This played a large role in her decision to implement the policy. However, certain students feel the policy was unnecessary.

“When she first talked about the policy, I [was] so mad,” English student Lucy Strazis ‘21 said. “It felt so restrictive and authoritative that she would take away this personal item from us. It felt like it was more an establishment of power rather than actually controlling the classroom.”

Many students such as Strazis have expressed their complaints whereas others have even been resistant or insubordinate to the policy, Reid said. These students that cheat the system make it difficult for students such as Strazis to promote the benefits of in class cell phone usage.

“I think having a lenient phone policy is good because it establishes a more comfortable relationship between the students and the school,” Strazis said. “I think it actually enhances learning when used appropriately.”

Reid supports arguments of beneficial phone usage in the classroom, considering her past usage of cellphones for online review games, readily available information and interactive learning, she said. However, the consequence to that is having to persistently regulate students that abuse the privilege.

“I just think the trade off is not with me policing cell phones all day long,” Reid said. “It’s not in my job description. And if it’s one less thing that can be distracting to students, it’s not necessary. It’s just not necessary.”

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