Written by: Alyssa Layborne
Smithville High School has implemented a new policy where phones and smart watches are no longer allowed in school, leaving students and teachers with mixed feelings.
Outlining the new guidelines, should a teacher see you on these devices when they have not given you prior permission, they have been instructed to take your phone and simply keep it until the end of class, logging the offense into PowerSchool. The second and third offenses come with more harsh repercussions and will end up with a parental guardian having to come to pick up your phone from the school.
“The new phone policy is, for lack of a better word, dumb,” said Emily Austin, sophomore. “Having my phone sitting on the table or in my pocket isn’t affecting me or any other student in any way yet if a teacher sees this my phone will be taken.”
The new policy Smithville administration has outlined and implemented has both good and bad sides to it, according to students and staff. For the good side, teachers do not have to worry about students cheating, getting distracted, or losing academic reliability in any way related to devices. On the other hand, students report feeling as though they are being infantilized by losing privileges to listen to music while working, use the internet for research and activities, and even filling free time in class.
“In middle school, the phone policy was never really used, so walking into my freshman year I was expecting more freedom, it is almost the end of 1 quarter and I feel as if I am being treated as more of an elementary student than I am a high schooler,” said Tristan Wald, freshman.
In past years the phone policy has always been a present concept, but most teachers never enforced it. Previously, many teachers would not mind students checking their devices every once and a while when appropriate, or wearing smartwatches.
“I’m a senior, and in the four years I have been here I have never been asked to follow the phone rules,” said Ethan Ammer, senior.
Despite the new policy, many students have been observed choosing to continue using their devices in class, resorting to sneaking their devices into classroom settings anyways. Students of every grade are disappointed in the lack of freedom they have when it comes to their own devices.