LUHS Lacks Cohesive Cellphone Policy

By Jack Abrahmson

Lamoille Union High School does not have a school wide policy to deal with cellphone usage, but teachers don’t seem to have strong views on tech in the classroom. As such, Lamoille Union teachers have been attempting to find the best way to prepare their students for their future endeavours that will inevitably include cellphones and similar technologies.

Lamoille Union Principal Schaffer wants to avoid a school wide ban on cell phones. Instead he’s been refining base protocols which any teacher can employ in the classroom.

The main idea behind these protocols is that teachers will create rules based on each community in every separate class, Schaffer said

There tends to be two major camps in the way that teachers deal with cell phone use in their classroom. One going for a student directive ideology and the other going for a more strict one. Specifically, neither camp really supports cellphone as distractions, just have different ways of dealing with student misbehavior.

The more student directive look focuses on preparing students for the eventual end goal of working under a job, whether that be military, an employer, or a university. LUHS teacher Nick Allen referred to the fact that cellphones can have uses in the classroom. Allen gave this example in his class, kids could use Instagram to do a project, or something that would be easier to accomplish on a phone. 

Allen was against high level punishment for improper use of the technology because it doesn’t work for some kids, saying, “I understand that there is an addiction, and you have to treat it as such…You can’t just say, 9-5 put that phone away… Those kids go home and are on their phones all night, it’s not that easy”. The main trend you see with this is that cell phone use can be useful in a classroom setting, when used correctly, and that is what they hope to teach.

For other teachers, there are stricter rules, such as phones being placed in backpacks and similar locations during class. LUHS teacher Sara Reed for instance, believed that when cellphones are in backpacks, students are less likely to be distracted. 

Reed believes that there is a time and place for cellphones, and that is not in the middle of class, “The feedback they (GMTCC) were getting from employers, was Lamoille County, the number one reason they were firing workers, is because they don’t know when to put it (phone) away, they don’t know when to focus. So why not start that in my classroom.”

Both strategies have shown to work so far in our classrooms. Students don’t seem to have had any major issues putting away phones during classes. 

Phones in Lamoille Union aren’t banned, and it doesn’t seem that the school wants to move in that direction. It is important however to have tools to use around the subject, as Schaffer said, “it’s our responsibility to prepare students for their future, we need to have dialogue on how to get them there.”

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