Middle schools get tough on cell phone use

LANSDALE – North Penn School District middle schools have decided to go old-school this year and ban the use of cellphones during the school day.

This new policy is a dramatic change from the past two school years. Before, students could carry their phones around with them and be on them in the hallways and at lunch.

However, this year right when students enter the building, their phones must be away and out of sight. They may not have their phones out at any point in the day, not even at lunch.

For the first two weeks of school, students received only a warning if a phone was out. But, from now on use of phones will result in a write up. After three write ups, that student will receive either detention or in school suspension.

Sheronne Howard, a science teacher at Pennfield Middle School, saw many reasons why this new rule could benefit students.

“[The policy came from] teachers troubleshooting why there were so many failures in the subject areas this year. And also looking at PSSA data, our scores were the worst they have ever been. So, when we started talking to each other trying to figure out why, the only thing that was new was allowing students to use the cellphones,” Howard explained.   

Based off of what Howard experienced, having phones in school was not a positive thing. Kids were distracted in class, there were more fights, and over all grades were down to an all time low.

She wholeheartedly agrees with this new rule, already seeing a difference these first three weeks of school. She noticed that the students are more engaged, responsible, and overall it is just a better learning environment.

“I definitely think it is fair. If education is our focalpoint and that is a distraction from education, then I think it is fair.” said Howard. She even went to the extent to say that “right now they need to be out of sight; I would prefer a locker.”

Among the student body in middle school there are some different opinions. Ashley Hickok, a student of Pennfield said, “I do not [think it is fair], I think we should be able to have it during lunch, I understand not during class, but during lunch.”

Regardless of whether or not the students like the new change, the belief among administration is that this new policy is helping the students in the long run be able to be more successful in class. Who knows, maybe if this is a huge success, the high school will follow in their footsteps.