New Phone Policy Prevents Access During the School Day

SOPHIA HUA Editor in Chief

San Mateo High School now prevents students from accessing their phones during the school day. Every morning, students must place their cell phones in a pouch which acts as a locking device. This enables cell phones to be carried around on campus while preventing them from being used.

 According to ABC News, the pouches can only be unlocked by staff members with magnetic devices. All pouches are unlocked at the end of the day within minutes. 

Staff members believe that spending too much time on cell phones was detrimental to students’ social skills as well as their education; consequently, the policy was implemented. Before the campus went phone-free, many students used their phones instead of talking to each other and paid little attention to their surroundings. Phones often became a distraction in class.

 Although some students initially felt empty without their phones, many came to appreciate taking a break from social media. Students began spending more time socializing and finding ways to entertain themselves without their cell phones.

 “At first I was skeptical,” San Mateo High School student Ariana Lacson said. “But now, I like it because it makes students socialize more amongst each other… students are talking to each other more rather than being zoned out on their phones.” 

As news of the phone-free campus spread, students across the nation debated the potential effects of a cell phone detox.

 “If [students] didn’t have their phones they would focus on their work,” sophomore Vinson Liu said.

 However, there are still aspects of this policy which raise concerns.

 “If schools want to take away students’ access to cell phones, they need to make sure to provide equitable access to technology,” AP U.S. History teacher Jessica Bray said. “Being in a distraction-free environment is great, but then that also takes away a viable learning resource that the district didn’t have to pay for.”

 Furthermore, Larry Rosen, a psychologist from California State University, Dominguez Hills warns that taking cell phones away from students could lead to increased anxiety, as teenagers often check their phones to reassure themselves that they have not missed anything important. 

According to ABC News, Adam Gelb, the assistant principal at San Mateo High School, has been receiving calls from parents and educators across the nation about the success of the new policy