The Orbit

The Student News Site of Reading Memorial High School

The Orbit

The Orbit


Which statement best describes your feelings about the return of midyear exams?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Ban on Phones Gaining Support in MA

Some Schools Lock Up Phones

The use of cell phones in school has gained some attention both nationally and locally, especially as some local schools have begun experimenting with cell phone bans. 

The 2023-2024 RMHS Student Handbook does not state any specific rules regarding phone use at school and only brings attention to students not being able to use phones during in-school suspension or detention. 

However, this is not the case at Lowell High School. At Lowell High School a new cell phone policy was put in place two months ago in hopes that it will reduce distractions in the classroom and create an overall better learning environment for students. As reported by television station Boston25 News in January, according to a memo sent by Lowell schools to the state department of education, this policy required students to completely turn off their phones when entering a classroom and put them in a designated “classroom container.” This approach however has received a lot of pushback from students through the form of a petition that identifies the collection of student phones as a “security and safety risk.”

As of last year, the state of Massachusetts has been encouraging schools across the state to pilot cell phone restrictions, with The Commonwealth Beacon reporting last May that Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley viewed a grant program to fund phone ban initiatives as “likely”.

I believe they really disrupt the classroom dynamic.

— Ms. Gilbert

In terms of a ban at RMHS, Principal Callanan explains, “At this time RMHS is not considering participating in this new cell phone policy.”  She has also become aware that the responsible use of cell phones has been, “more of a challenge for younger students because in the middle schools, they can’t have cell phones at all and then they get here and it takes some time to regulate it.” As a result of this she explains, “We have different rules for freshmen as of right now that teachers are trying to implement across all classes.” 

Each teacher at RMHS has their own view on how cell phones should be used and is faced with the decision of whether or not they will allow phone use in their classes. Biology teacher Mr. Albright believes, “Cell phones at school are complicated because they are never going to go away, and we have to learn responsible use.” He shares his policy of, “If it becomes a major issue then I’m gonna have students put it in the phone holder but I have not yet needed to enforce that.”  In the last two years of teaching, it was more of a presence than a major distraction.” 

Art teacher at RMHS Ms. Gilbert shares a stronger opinion on the topic. She explains, “My policy is that students have their cell phones turned off and put away. At the beginning of the semester, Ms. Gilbert asked students to put phones in the “phone pocket holder” which she explains, “Started to feel like an argument that I didn’t want to waste time on.”  She continued, “It would be really helpful if cell phones weren’t present in class because I believe they really disrupt the classroom dynamic.” 

Students at RMHS also provided their insight on phone use in classrooms. Freshman Jacki Shimansky(‘27) explains, “Only in some of my classes, students are told to put their phones away in cubbies for the entire duration of the class.” She also shares that not many students follow this policy put in place by some of their teachers.

It should be our decision because as seniors we are going off to college next year and we need to learn how to have greater self-control in college…

— Molly Sundstrom ('24)

Students from the class of ‘24 also shared their views on having cell phones in classes. Molly Sundstrum(‘24) believes, “It should be our decision because as seniors we are going off to college next year and we need to learn how to have greater self-control in college and this allows us to do so.” Grace Hattery(‘24) shares a very similar view, “We should have our phones cause we are old enough to understand that if we just want to sit on our phones and waste our time then we can do that, but if we want to learn then we need to put our phones away and pay attention.” 

As of now, RMHS is not enforcing any new cell phone restrictions for students to follow. Cell phones have certainly become a prominent part of students’ daily lives at school, and with that follows both advantages and disadvantages that can be weighed when deciding if a change in cell phone policies will best benefit the students. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Orbit Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *