New Cell Phone Policy Gives Students More Freedom

Holyoke High and Dean Tech's new cell phone policy allows students more freedom in the use of cell phones while in school.

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Holyoke Public Schools took an approach this school year to reinvent the former cell-use phone policy for the high school students. This new phone policy allows the students at Holyoke High School and Dean Technical High School to use their phones in the hallways on their way to class, although they were still not allowed to take photos or video and are only allowed to have one ear-bud in. Students are also now allowed to use their phones in the cafeteria with the same rules about photo, music, and video in place.

“Our goal with this policy is to provide students some freedom,” Principal Sullivan said, “just like they will have in college and other places outside of the school–and help them understand how to use personal electronics responsibly so they are not a distraction in the classroom.”

Under the school policy last year, students were only able to carry their phone in their pocket or backpack and weren’t able to use it unless given permission to by a teacher or school official. This old policy caused many struggles including students getting their phones taken away for breaking this policy and taking away from students and teachers educational time.

“I was looking at my grades online and the teacher took my phone,” Brendan Leahy ‘18 said. “It was unfair because it was during classwork time and I was using it to check my grades.”

The issue of students using their electronics isn’t the issue, the issue is that students using their electronics are disrupting class and being disrespectful. With this new phone policy it lets students use their phones in other areas of the school such as hallways and the cafeteria to prevent them from using it in their respected classes. Cell phones in the classroom can be a great tool if used correctly for educational purposes, but using them for social media, streaming videos, etc. is not going to benefit the class.

Many teachers, administrators, and students provided their opinions when developing this policy and even worked with Dean Technical High School to guarantee these practices of this phone policy were aligned.

This phone policy has been in development for 12-15 months and is still a work in progress based on how it goes this year. The policy will continue to be adjusted based on feedback from school administrators, teachers, and students.