Cell phone rules aim for balance
Kings High School students find themselves navigating a new cell-phone policy this year, where rules may not always be the same from one classroom to another. Still, the rules are designed to strike a balance between allowing technology – without allowing it to become a distraction.
The new policy consists of three different “zones” that inform students when they can and can’t use their cell phones on campus. The red zone marks a no-cell-phone use area. Yellow zones are where cell phones may be used depending on teacher discretion. Green zones are places like hallways and the cafeteria, where cellphones are allowed to be in full use.
This policy was implemented by the new high school principal, Doug Leist.
“I came across this method when I worked at Hamilton,” Leist said of his former job at Hamilton High School. “I believe it helps firm up the expectation of students.”
Leist said the policy works so well because of its flexibility.
“For some classes there is no need for cellphone use, while for others it is a useful resource,” he said. “That is why the red, yellow and green zones work so well. It gives the teachers the choice as to whether cell phones should be used or not.”
There are many teachers who believe cell phones should be a resource in class, while others have chosen to make their room a “red zone”.
Joyce Wittig, a chemistry teacher at Kings, believes that cell phones should be put away while students are in the classroom.
“I find cellphones to be a very big distraction in the classroom,” she says. “Students tend to play games, text people and often use phones for things other than school.”
When the new cell phone policy was put into place, it came as a relief to Wittig.
“Having my classroom as a red zone helps keeps students focused on their work,” she said. “Allowing this policy has helped me reinforce my classroom as a ‘red zone.’”
On the other hand, K.C. Freed, a social studies teacher at Kings, believes that students should be able to have their phones out.
“Cell phones are here and they are not going away,” he said. “I have outlined my rules about cell phones to the students, they know when and when not to use them in my class.”
“Cell phones are a big learning tool” Freed added. “As long as kids don’t abuse their powers, then cellphones are okay in my book.”
Whether it is a yellow, green or red zone, it is there for a reason, Leist said.
”The policy is put into place to help students learn. For them to use their resources to their maximum potential.”