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OCPS cracks down on Phone Use

Students who are found with cell phones during school hours may have their device confiscated.

   Starting this school year, OCPS students are no longer allowed to have their phones out during class time. 

  The policy states that students will not be able to use their phones once the bell rings for first period and are only permitted to have them out after dismissal. According to the OCPS website, the new policy states that “OCPS requires that wireless communications device(s)* be silenced and put away (in a backpack or purse) during the school day while on campus, including lunchtime and transitioning between classes. *Wireless communication devices include but are not limited to, cell phones and/or auxiliary/ancillary devices such as watches and ear buds.”

     As the new policy rolls out, students will be reminded of the policy, but phones and ear buds will not be confiscated until September 5th. 

   In an attempt to  further prevent cell phone usage during class, administrators at UHS have created a policy that requires students to place their devices in their backpacks and move them to a classroom wall.

   Many teachers have expressed a positive outlook on the policy believing that banning phones will help their students be more attentive during class. “I’ve definitely seen an increase in my students’ attention spans. It allows me to focus more on instructing my students because I don’t have to interrupt class time to tell someone to put their phone away,” said history teacher, Ms. Lisa Wentzell.

   Students have expressed frustration about the new policy. Many find the new rule to be overbearing and don’t see a need for it. “I feel like without my phone playing music during class, I actually pay less attention,” said sophomore Thien Tran. 

   While initially resistant to the new policy some students think that the policy isn’t completely off-base, “I think I pay the same amount of attention with or without my phone. We shouldn’t have them playing music during lectures, but for independent work we should be able to use our phones,”  said sophomore Juliet Morales.

   Other teachers pointed out that there are other factors at play for students who are inattentive in class and that the cell phone ban will not necessarily be a cure-all for distracted behaviors. “I’m hoping they pay more attention without their phones but a student that wants to be distracted can always find a way,” said Chemistry teacher, Ms. Erika Johnson.

   There are exceptions for students with 504 plans, IEP’s, or other medical needs. Teachers can also permit phones for academic purposes or activities during class time.

   Administrators and teachers have been working hard to enforce this new rule, with the deans trying to stop students from using their phones in the halls and during lunch. But until September 5th, they will not confiscate them. “It’s been a struggle to get kids to take off their headphones and my hope is that students will learn to put away their phones before we have to confiscate them,“ said Dean Doyle Washington.

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About the Contributor
Cricket Wainman
Cricket Wainman, Editor
Cricket is currently a sophomore at UHS and a Valencia Dual Enrollment student. This is her second year as a Staff Writer for The Torch and her first as an editor.  Some of her favorite hobbies are reading, playing video games, and watching her favorite shows. Cricket has four cats and loves hanging out with Ali.
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