Staff Editorial: Cell phone policy needs to be updated

The issue of cell phone use in the classroom is not new, but the way that BSM approaches this policy needs to be altered. The school needs to change its cell phone policy to adapt to the changing needs of its student body.

While the school may assert that using phones during class lectures is rude and inappropriate, expecting students to keep their cell phones off and in their lockers during the school day is out of date and unrealistic. In case of an emergency, using a cell phone is much quicker and safer than trying to contact the authorities through the landlines in the corner of the room. Just because students have their phones on them doesn’t mean that they’re texting in class or using 4G.

At the same time, the monetary penalties for having a cell phone in class should not be in place. Money should not be a punishment for students because this could cause economic hardship, as many do not have $30 to pay to get their phone back. This also brings the issue home rather than staying within school because parents are now forced to use their money to get their child’s cell phone back for safety, and this is completely unfair for students. Even if students do have money to pay to get their cell phone back, many do not carry $30 in cash with them during the day.

If students cannot pay, the school then keeps the phone overnight, and the phone may be needed for the student’s safety. While keeping cell phones during the school day may be appropriate, keeping these phones for over twelve hours while students aren’t in the school building is completely different. On a small scale this could lead to confusion for parents when they can’t contact their child about when to pick them up, but it could even cause larger problems if a student were to get in a car accident or have a larger emergency.

Many throughout the school community understand these problems with the current cell phone policy. In fact, many teachers have stopped following the administration’s rule and keeping students’ phones themselves instead of turning them in. If the policy isn’t being used throughout the building, it clearly needs to be changed.

In order to give students penalties for breaking school rules while fixing these issues, BSM should change their cell phone policy to be the same as other school infractions. The school should collect students’ phones during the school day, but return them to their owners at the end of the day with a detention if necessary. This will adequately address the problem and actually be enforced to help actually deal with the issue.