The Student News Site of Prospect High School


The Student News Site of Prospect High School


The Student News Site of Prospect High School


New cell-phone policy aims to decrease distraction

A phone caddy holds multiple phones in its pockets as a way to curb cell-phone use during class instruction. While some teachers make it mandatory for students to put their phones in the caddies, others use them when it’s absolutely necessary. (Photo courtesy of PJ O’Grady)

As seemingly endless technological distractions sweep the education system, a nationwide push for limiting phone use is being presented. Take for example schools in Florida, where they have implemented a phone ban during instructional time. Similarly, District 214 has restructured its very own phone policy, by changing the written guidelines of the rules. 

Although there’s always been a general rule against cell-phones in class, Division Head of Student Success, Safety and Wellness, Jenna Samp explained that D214 changed the verbiage of the policy about cell-phone use and electronic devices in the classroom to make their rules more clear for students and staff.

The newly-clarified codes of conduct were outlined within the document. For example, a part of the D214 Cell Administrative Procedure simply states that “cell phones must be put away and unused during instructional time.” If students get caught breaking that rule by going on their phone, the teacher can issue the first warning, or for more technical terms a “Cell phone Violation.” A second violation may constitute the teacher contacting the parent or guardian of said student. After the third violation, the procedure states that the Division Heads of Student Success, Safety and Wellness will meet it with “appropriate interventions.” 

Although those consequences can be put in action, a more common and reasonable approach teachers will likely use is to make students put their phones in “phone caddies,” (a phone caddy is a phone holder with up to 30 pockets that many Prospect classrooms have readily available). Some teachers make all their students put their phones away at the start of class, while other teachers will make an individual student put their phone away if they are on their phone too much during instruction.

Division Head of Student Success, Safety and Wellness Nicholas Olson emphasizes steadiness throughout the staff for cell-phone use.

“The policy should be consistent across all teachers, as far as following the policy. However, the teachers do have discretion … if they’re using it for an academic purpose then absolutely, but otherwise it should be consistent across all the classrooms.”

Overall, both Olson and Samp agreed that teachers do have some flexibility to manage phone-use as long as they’re making sure students are not on their phone during class-time. Considering the changes with the policy’s verbiage and the more widespread implementation of phone caddies, Olson expressed his approval of students’ cooperation in respecting the policy.

“I do think students have been awesome about following the new policy and understanding cell phones can be a distraction,” Olson said. “So, it’s really to minimize the distractions in the classroom so people are engaging in the content.”

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