New cell phone policy debuts

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By Tehreem Khan and Niyati Neupane, staff writers

The administration has enacted a new cell phone policy for students in the 2017-2018 school year. Prior to the change, cell phones were prohibited in all areas of the school from the time a student arrives to school until the end of the school day at 3:05 p.m. Although the rule still states that cell phones should not be visible in the building, it has been adjusted to grant some freedom to students.

The general rules now assert that there are three different zones with varying limitations for cell phone usage. The designated areas, which consist of the auditorium, cafeteria, and courtyard, are locations where cell phones are allowed. Places like classrooms, offices, and the library are known as discretionary areas, in which a cell phone may be used with the permission of the adult responsible for the area. If allowed, cell phones may be used as an instructional tool and learning resource for students and teachers. However, cell phones are prohibited in other areas in the building, including hallways, staircases, locker rooms, bathrooms, and the gym.

Dean Robin Figelman discussed the reason for change: “We decided we wanted to give the kids a safe space to use their phones, in order to limit the amount of cell phone usage in the hallways.”

“There were a lot of strong feelings towards not allowing students to use their phones in the cafeteria, mostly by parents,” Ms. Figelman said. Knowing this, the administrative team sought a compromise. Ms Figelman said, “Since Principal Condon came in, it was easy talking to him and hearing the pros and cons of both sides, and we came to a compromise, which made everybody happy.”

In order for students to know whether or not they can use their cellphone in various places in the building, green, yellow, and red signs will be posted around the school to represent the designated, discretionary, and disallowed areas for cellphones, respectively.

“There are going to be green signs up very soon that say this is a designated area…so that everyone knows that [cellphones] are allowed,”Assistant Principal of Organization Ellen Fee explained. “Yellow signs will be in the classroom, and red will be in the hallway, to show that it’s not okay. It will be very color coded.”

The administrators believe the new policy will benefit the students. Ms. Figelman stated that the change should eliminate the need to sneak cell phone use. Ms. Fee commented, “It will be more clear when you can use the phones, so there’s no guessing whether you’ll get in trouble or not.”

As for the students, some are very pleased with the more lenient policy. Junior Jessica Lu stated, “I think it’s nice because we don’t have to hide our phones anymore, and teachers don’t have to give us demerits for that.”

Freshman Mehakpreet Kaur has found the policy useful: “I had a social studies test and I was able to do last minute studying at lunch.”

Others don’t agree that the change is significant enough. Senior Victoria Harris said, “I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to use our phones in the hallway. I wish they could be a little more lenient, especially because seniors have a lot of free time.” Some have concerns about a lack of WiFi options, given issues with service in the cafeteria.

Ms. Figelman also believes there will be some students who won’t abide by the new rules. “I think that some students will still take them out, but the majority will understand… If we all as administrators enforce the rules in the disallowed areas, then the allowed areas will be safe,” she concluded.

Additional reporting by Amanpreet Kaur, Manpreet Kaur, Tamanna Saidi, Kaiqi Liang, Diya Vanjani, and Halima Tokhi