New phone policy at high school

Thu, 09/30/2021 - 3:45pm

Towards the end of August, a letter to parents and students in grades eight through 12 was sent out regarding the new phone policy. The letter states, “Unauthorized cell phone use has been a spark of conflict in the past between some students and teachers...Because of this, we will collect phones and lock them at the entrance each morning.”
Starting at 7:40 a.m., when the front doors to the Block Island School open, two teachers stand next to a phone box and collect all high schoolers’ phones while checking off each name to keep track. “We have ordered a special storage case. Phones will be returned at lunch and then collected once again until dismissal. Students can call home using one of the many phones in the school, and as a parent, if you need to contact your child during the school day, the school office will deliver the message,” the letter states.

There have been many different opinions expressed by teachers and students throughout the high school on the new phone policy. History teacher Jayne Conway referred to her past with dealing with phone regulations. “In my early days of teaching, cell phones were not allowed in
school. If we saw a phone, the student lost it for the day, and they didn’t fight us on that policy. If a parent needed to contact a student they could call the main office. If a student needed to contact their parents, they went to the office to make the call. That system worked pretty well for a very
long time,” Conway said.

Some students showed a positive attitude to the new policy. “Honestly I was way more upset in the beginning about it. I mean it is what it is. It’s not the biggest loss in the world to not have my phone for a couple hours of the day and I feel like I actually get a lot of work done,” said Senior Whitney McGinnes. “I think it is helping students focus in class, especially for me. I have a lot of online classes that are self taught,” she said.

Others had a different opinion and expressed their concerns involving lack of easy communication. “I feel like it blocks off communication,” senior Hector Santana said. “I have to come find people fast for rides and walk all the way home if I can’t reach someone. I have to go to the office to
reach people but I don’t remember all the contacts so I’m unable to call who I want,” he said.

Another student expressed the same distress when they said, “I couldn’t adapt easily to the new policy. A phone is something I’ve had in my life for about five years. It’s something that’s always been in my pocket and made it easy to contact my mom, dad, boss, anyone that I need to really,” said one junior.

Confirmed by Principal Kristine Monje, there still is a possibility of going back to the old ways where students were able to carry their phones throughout the day.

“There is a chance with us being more lenient with people who are more responsible. It’s still developing. We have to look at the bigger picture,” Monje said. For the meantime the phone policy is still in place and students at the high school will continue to follow it until further notice.