Do not disturb Larned High School

Larned High School has adopted a new policy, which bans the use of cell phones in the classroom.

Larned High School has adopted a new policy for cell phones. This policy was voted on by the LHS school board in 2022 and put into action at Larned High School at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. The policy states, “Cell phones are not allowed in classrooms or during instructional. Cell phones must remain in backpacks or in a designated area assigned by the teacher.” Students are allowed to have their phones during the four minute passing periods and at lunch. Mr. Wilson, the principal of Larned High School, saw that as time passed, more and more students were on their phones during their classes. He saw that it was becoming an increasingly larger problem every year, and he decided to bring this up to the school board. The school board had discussed the policy previously, but up until this year, it had not made its way into the student handbook.

There hasn’t been a lot of talk about the subject at LHS, so we’re delving into what students think about the new policy. A recent poll shows that 3% of the student body thinks the cell phone policy has helped them focus more in class. We asked Isabella Bailey if the cell phone policy has helped her, she responded with, “Yes, I believe it has helped me focus somewhat more. Even if I’m not on my phone, I can’t say that I have that option and I don’t debate on whether to do homework or play on my phone anymore.”

There are many different views on how the cell phone policy hurts and helps the students’ learning experiences in the classroom. Our survey shows that 66.7% of students don’t appreciate the new policy. We questioned junior, Gage Donecker about how he feels the new policy has affected his learning in the classroom, he replied, “It has not really helped me because I like listening to music while I work, and with the cell phone policy I can’t do that anymore.” Therefore, there are understandably some drawbacks to not having cell phones in the classroom. 

Some students believe that the new policy doesn’t allow them to prepare for jobs in the real world. When we asked Breanna Hemken about how she feels about the new policy, she shared, “Well I think that high school should prepare you for the real world. I feel that after high school, whatever you do with your life is up to you. It is up to you to act mature and regulate stuff like how much you use your cell phone. In the real world, your boss won’t tell you to put your phone down, they will see your lack of work ethic and fire you. If high school is going to prepare us for the real world, I think that we should be allowed to regulate our own phone use, so that we will know how to regulate ourselves in the real world.” 

It’s safe to say that students have different opinions on the new policy, but how much has the new policy really affected them? 20.3% of students say that the new policy hasn’t affected them because they still use their phones in class, despite them being banned. Another 9.4% of students says that the new policy hasn’t really affected them since they didn’t use their phones in class before this year. So a total of 29.7% of students haven’t been affected by the new policy for some reason or another. 

Students have their opinions, but teachers do too. We asked teachers about how they feel about the cell phone policy. Many teachers are happy that the new policy has been implemented, because it helps them control cell phone use in the classroom more effectively. When we asked Mrs. Pontius if the policy  helped her, she confirmed that, “It’s more support for teachers to have the policy in the handbook. Since it’s across the board, there’s less lash back from the students about forgetting what the rules are in different classes.” 

Students’ lives are changing a lot right now with the new eight period schedule being implemented this year. So was it right to ban cell phones at the same time that we are implementing this new schedule? Some teachers think the new schedule and the new cell phone policy go hand-in-hand. Students are finding that they have less class time to get their homework done, let alone enough time to use their phones in class. When we questioned Mr. Rohling about the timing of the new policy, he stated that “Because there is less time in class, there is less time to work, so they have to put them away to get all their work done.” 

When we asked Mrs. Pontius if she thought it was the right time, she similarly confirmed that “I do think it was the right time, this year is so crazy anyway, it was kind of the right time. It was better to throw it in with the schedule changes rather than one little change on its own.” These adjustments are affecting students and teachers alike. Therefore, there is understandably going to be some adjustment time this first semester. We hope that as time goes on these developments become smoothly integrated into life at LHS.

It is a big change for Larned High School, but it was made with students’ best interests in mind. It is believed that not having phones in the classroom will help students focus more. We hope as time goes on, students will get more used to it, seeing as we are stuck with this new policy!