PRO/CON: Should students’ phones be allowed in the academic wing?

Anna Deaver and Allison Coyne

Pro: Students should be allowed to have their phones with them

Phones should be allowed in the academic wing because they are useful tools both in and outside of the classroom.

As a student, a lot of your life is on your phone. You use it to keep track of your schedule, communicate with people, and record important information all in one place. When phones are banned in the academic wing, you lose out on a lot of convenience and value.

Having your email on your phone means that you can check it without having to open your laptop, which is useful in the hallways or before and after classes.

Additionally, it’s much easier to check your schedule if you can just pull out your phone and glance at it for a second. A lot of people have their schedules as their phone backgrounds, meaning they do not even have to unlock it. This is helpful for the newer students who do not know the classroom numbers; it is a lot easier to glance at a phone than it is to find a piece of paper and read it while walking to class.

Since most people always have their phones on them, very few students wear a watch. Since students are not always able to see a clock from everywhere in the hallway, and some of the clocks are incorrect in the classrooms, having a phone in the academic wing helps students be on time for their classes.

If you don’t have your phone with you, it is easy to lose it. Between your locker, your backpack, your car, and various phone holders in classrooms, it can be difficult to remember where your phone is if you don’t have it with you.

If students are able to hold onto their phones, they would never have to worry about misplacing it.

In the classroom, a phone is a valuable tool. Taking pictures of information on the board can help during fast-paced lessons, so a teacher can cover their material without having to wait for the students to copy notes.

Unless you are in math class, chances are you do not carry your calculator with you to every class. In the case that you need one, you can use your phone as a calculator without having to open your computer.

Also, phones are a great way to share information. Group chats and social media spread information faster than word-of-mouth ever could. When it comes to making plans for where to sit for lunch or during an assembly, or if someone has a question about an upcoming event, texting is the easiest way to communicate.

Finally, phones are a great backup if your laptop fails. If your laptop is dead, not charging, not turning on, or if you forgot it at home, having your phone means that you can still be an active participant in class and not fall further behind.

Students are not going to leave their phones in their lockers, so they carry them through the academic wing in their pockets and on top of their books.

Taking away their ability to check their phones causes more problems than it solves. If a student is going to be late for a class or take up space in the hallway, they are going to be doing that regardless of whether or not they are on a phone. – Anna Deaver

CON: Students should not be allowed to have their phones with them

Students should keep their phones off and away in the academic wing.

For high schoolers, our entire lives are on our phones. We constantly want to text our friends, see who posted on Instagram, and mindlessly scroll through TikTok. Although staying connected is important, phones should not influence our learning environments.

Every day, the hallway is flooded with students rushing to get to their next classes, stopping at their lockers, or simply talking to friends. The last thing anyone wants is to get hit by someone who is distracted by a phone. That is exactly what phones in school are: a distraction.

When students are on their phones, they are not worried about their surroundings. This creates unnecessary risks of danger when walking through the halls or up the stairs. Phones may also lead to an increase in tardiness since students may get sidetracked while checking messages or social media.

Hallways are not the only space where phones are unnecessary. Once in the classroom, students should not be using their phones. If a teacher or peer is presenting, the last thing they want is to look up and see a classroom of students glued to their phones. Even if a phone is not in a student’s hand, they are often placed on the corners of desks and used. Not only is this disrespectful, but it harms one’s ability to learn.

According to the National Library of Medicine, phones negatively affect memory recall accuracy and cognitive processes. This causes students to be unable to grasp concepts and remember ideas that, in the long run, would hurt their grades.

Another danger to students’ education is rooted in cyberbullying. It is a serious problem for many high schoolers that is often overlooked. One of the main ways cyberbullying occurs is through social media, which students have access to from phones. By keeping phones away, students have the chance to escape a toxic social media culture and focus on school.

Currently, the John Carroll handbook states, “In the academic wing, students can only use cell phones and/or earbuds for educational purposes with a teacher’s permission. Otherwise, both cell phones and earbuds should not be seen in the academic wing and its hallways.”

According to the JC policy, phones should either be placed in the holder or placed out of sight. This allows students to have access to their phones in case of an emergency but limits distractions. It also allows an opportunity for students to responsibly decide when they should use their phones since they are not required to be left in lockers.

Additionally, according to the handbook, “Students may use their cell phones before and after school and during the school day in their lunch and free mods in all areas of the building except for the academic wing and its hallways from 8:00 am- 2:45 pm.” This allows plenty of time for students to stay connected while still prioritizing schoolwork.

The current policy is the best way to protect students’ education and safety while teaching responsibility. – Allison Coyne