Illustration courtesy of Courtney Young
Phones are “wonderful and horrible at the same time,” says principal Gabriel Lemmon.
Cell phones are a gateway to information and are a key aspect of communication, but are they a distraction to students’ learning environment? In France, lawmakers passed legislation banning cell phones from elementary and junior high schools, to go into effect this month.
In 2010, a law was passed to ban cell phone usage in class but now it has extended to the entire school day. Students, ages 15 and under, are required to leave not only their phones at home, but also other devices, including tablets and computers. If students must bring it to school, they have to keep it on silent and in their backpacks. The only exception to the rule is if a student with special needs uses it for activities in the classroom. The education minister believes this ban will help improve students’ mental health and addiction to the internet.
At Pinewood, Lemmon sent out an email asking parents to complete a survey on whether cell phones should be banned for seventh and eighth grade students. The results were spread out evenly, whether parents wanted to ban them or not.
Lemmon believes that it will be a long process of figuring out the necessary action to take, but he wants to do “the best thing for the health and development of [the] students.
“I want the dialogue about it, for it, against it, and the reasons to be out there so that [the] community [can] engage in that discussion,” Lemmon said.
Lemmon does not want it to be a surprise if Pinewood ends up banning phones for junior high.
Many Pinewood students have opinions against the banning of cell phones.
Freshman Hailey Alexander said she thought cell phones in a school setting are important “at certain times, like at lunch, to be able to interact with parents if [a student] ever needs to call them.”
Sophomore Bambos Christoforou commented, “phones are good for organ-
ization. Like let’s say [a student forgets] something at home and [the student needs his or her] mom to go get it, [the student] can just call them.”
When asked about the benefits of banning phones, many of the students said there were none.
The singular positive opinion came from Christoforou when he mentioned that the only good part of banning phones would be that people would potentially socialize more.
Alexander and Christoforou made the same point, agreeing phones are a key aspect of communication in the modern day world. The only issue is knowing when and where to use them.