Cell phone policy locks Oly down (or not)


Alice Fischer

Student uses phone under table in class

This year Olympia High School’s administration implemented a new policy on cell phone use in the classroom: phones are no longer allowed in class. Through the first few months of the policy being implemented, students and staff have had different opinions on the impact on the community.

According to principal Matt Grant, prior to this policy, he felt as if there was no consistency in phone usage between classrooms. Grant describes this new system as an increase in “overall enforcement”.

In light of Grant’s comments, it seems as if the administration attempted to create a universal policy across classrooms, but the question is; did it work?

When asked about the efficiency of the policy, Grant says that at the beginning of the year, more so, he noticed cell phone usage was definitely better (lower) than it was before, however as the year went on he has become more worried about possible erosion in the policy.

Surprisingly, there has been a minimal amount of people who have received permanent consequences for personal device use this year: only 6. Unfortunately, this cannot be compared to other years since this is the first year of the policy, and records from previous years regarding cell phone punishments are weak and unreliable.

Administrative secretary Rebecca Blocher says there are about 3 to 4 devices that arrive in the office per day but the number varies from day to day. Out of almost all 2000 students, only 3-4 phones confiscated a day is a shockingly small number.

“I think a sign that the strategy is working is when students don’t think things are fair, normally I get a lot of complaints,” remarked Grant, “I have had zero appeals on this policy so far.” Even if nobody has filed a formal complaint, many students have opinions on this ruling.

Freshman ASB president Phoebe Goh has “definitely heard some negative complaints.” Goh claimed, “since phones are such a daily use item, everyone has their own unique and essential purposes for their phone.” In addition, she stated that personal devices can be a huge distraction in the classroom. “Phones have the opportunity to be either a great resource or a huge distraction so this is a difficult issue to address,” said Goh.

“Only the long run will tell the true impact of this policy on our school,” states Grant.