What’s Up with the New Laptop iMessage Ban?


Lily Butner

Student iMessaging abilities has now been removed from BSM student laptops.

Many Red Knights sat down in the comfort of their own homes this past Wednesday night and tried to open iMessage on their laptop, but the app refused to open. Some other students tried to partake in this same activity Thursday morning and discovered an identical result. Students conducted Google searches for “Why won’t my iMessage open on my laptop?” and restarted their laptops over and over. Kids were perpetually held in the dark until rumors revealed that iMessage had been banned. Blocked, banned, disabled, shut off, whatever terminology is floating around the halls – the administration has done it. No more texting through school laptops.

Administration implemented a ban on iMessage on all school laptops on Wednesday evening. There was minimal reasoning given for the decision, and students were NOT informed – just teachers. This new rule is so ridiculous it’s almost funny.

Allow me to run through the (very few) details we know about the ban.
1. An email was sent to teachers the morning of Thursday, January 12th, notifying them that iMessage is now banned.
2. That’s literally it. Administrators have told us NOTHING.

Naturally, the student body (myself included) is not happy with this new ban, especially with the lack of communication surrounding it. There are several reasons as to why this is a genuinely stupid rule, and I’m blown away by the fact that the administration deemed this a necessary ban.

First and foremost, we’re living in an age of technology. Communication is everywhere. The world that we live in is fueled by constant interaction with others, and there’s physically no stopping it. Texting on school laptops during class is a huge way I communicate with my peers. I can’t begin to express the amount of times that I’ve sent or received a text message asking if anyone had Advil or a tampon or a hair binder. If we’ve got a funky class schedule one day, my friends will shoot a quick text to our group chat asking what time class ends. The newspaper that you’re reading right now is built on the foundation of text messaging – we record our interviews on an app and text the transcripts from our phones to our laptops. How am I supposed to complete these necessary tasks or aid my friends in times of need when I can’t communicate with them?

Serious question: did our administrators forget that we have…teachers? Teachers who can easily tell a student to shut their laptop at the drop of a hat? Teachers that do, in fact, tell students to shut their laptops every day in order to ensure active participation? A teacher asking their student to shut their laptop is not out of the ordinary. In just about all my classes, once the bell rings, my teacher will have the class put away their laptops so the lesson can begin. It seems to me that the administration is fighting a nonexistent battle under the premise that students are addicted to texting.

Then comes the matter of trust. Is the administration implying that they don’t trust their teachers – so much so that a physical ban needs to be set in place? I’d hope that there could be just a sliver of trust in our teachers and their ability to tell a student to close their laptop. I mean, it’s three words. I know for a fact all my teachers are better than that.

There’s also a lack of trust around the individual student. BSM is a proud college-prep school, meaning that the four years spent here are constructed to give students a smooth transition into college life. However, I think a ban such as this one is actually steering us away from a college-prep experience and feels to me more like my elementary school.

In order to truly be a college-prep school, I believe that students should take their years here as opportunities to learn as many lessons as they can. In this time, we should focus on learning our academic skills and faults. If a student chooses to text for the entirety of a lesson, odds are high that their test score won’t be pretty. But that is a lesson for them to learn. News flash! iMessage won’t be banned in college. Banning it now is just going to lower students’ exposure to it and make sending a text during a college lecture all the more enticing.

If I had to pick the worst part of this whole mess, I think the aspect that irritates me the most is the fact that iMessage is still banned off school wifi. There are a few things banned when BSM Macs are on school wifi, like Netflix, but those sites are still accessible as soon as you leave campus. However, no matter where you are, iMessage will not work. Though the laptops are BSM property, I think the same rules shouldn’t be applied to both school and home.

I’m a sucker for some comedic relief, so a couple parts of this situation have actually turned out very funny thanks to classic teenage mischief. I’ve heard countless hacks about how to get your iMessages to open, and I can’t believe the administration didn’t anticipate the student body finding every possible loophole around this ridiculous ban. Google chats, emails, Instagram direct messages are just a few other communication systems that students have access to.

While I do see understandable motivation for this ban to ensure that students are engaged in class, I still think that this is a decision that BSM screwed up on. Our modern world combined with our college-prep title makes no sense without online communication, and I can’t help but shake my head at this absurd effort to exercise an iron fist over Benilde-St. Margaret’s.