Since 2016 Bellwood-Antis High School has allowed students to have personal electronic devices during school and use them in certain locations. Students have been able to use their phones in homeroom, the cafeteria, and in the media center.
Those rules have been tightened dramatically to start 2019-2020.
“Observations last year and inconsistent management of the rules have led to the changes,” said high school Principal Mr. Richard Schreier.
Now, students are only permitted to have their phones and other PED’s for half an hour a day during lunch.
It’s a change that has not been embraced with open arms by all members of the student body.
“I never saw phones as an issue, even when I had it on me in class. I never thought about grabbing it and checking it. The rule change is honestly pointless. More students are just going to sneak around and find time to be on their phone,” said Casi Shade.
At the end of 2018-2019, faculty and staff expressed their concerns over students having phones and since has caused big changes.
The biggest concern that faculty had was that they weren’t sure what was and wasn’t a cell phone violation, because students could use their devices in so many places. Students could even use their phones under teacher discretion; for example, if a student’s iPad was dead or they didn’t have it, students could use their phones to learn and participate in classroom activities if the teacher permitted.
Teachers made suggestions for rule changes at the end of last school year.
“It is all the staff together wanting concrete rules and regulations to follow. It isn’t just me writing the rules,” said Mr. Schreier.
According to disciplinary records, last school year there were 54 cellphone infractions due to 27 different students. Twenty-four of the infractions were committed by five students. Eleven students got to the second offense, meaning two infractions. In last year’s ninth grade alone there were 23 infractions.
The media center will no longer support or allow students to have PED’s while at the media center. Faculty and Staff have almost completely cut use of phones during the school day with the exception of lunch.
“Not being able to have our phones in the Media Center confuses me the most. It is called a Media Center, and it is also a place for students to go in their free time. We should at least be able to have our phones in study halls and at the Media Center. It doesn’t make sense.” said, senior Alli Campbell.
Any other time during the day students are told to keep their phones and other electronic devices off and in their lockers.
“It is our main idea to help students focus on school and to create a better learning environment. We tried the route of giving freedom to students, now we are taking the temptation away. I feel as students will feel healthier in the long run,” said Mr. Schreier
Students already are expressing themselves about the new cell phone rules. Senior Travis Luensmann believes the changes we unreasonable.
“I feel personally that the change was a little unreasonable. I think all students are facing this verdict due to actions of only a small majority of students.”
Lunesmann thinks the change was unnecessary.
“It should be up to the students to determine their education, in that choosing to listen or not will decide their grade,” he said.