Why No Cell Phones at Lunch?

Why No Cell Phones at Lunch?

Recently, the freshman class received Chromebooks as part of our school-wide Google program. This is a wonderful idea for the future of the school, mainly because it allows computer access to the students at any time of the day for projects, homework, and assignments on Google Classroom, a collaborative online classroom tool. 

This looks good on paper and in theory, but there is a problem: While Redbank pushes the use of technology with Chromebooks, for some reason, the district still cannot see the benefits of student cell phone use. Of course, the start of this program is great for the freshman, but what about everyone else? Teachers of all grade levels are encouraging students to download the Google Classroom app on their phones, but what good is it if students can’t use it during school? If freshman can use their Chromebooks at lunch to go on Google Classroom, why can’t everyone else use their phones?

Lunch is a time where many students get their school work done. As busy students who have school, sports, clubs, and jobs, we often use lunch to do homework. Wouldn’t it make sense that we should be allowed to use our phones during lunch to get our work done? Of course, study hall is an option, but what about those students that don’t have computer access? A cell phone is right there for use, but we are not permitted to have them. Some students don’t even have any study halls, and lunch is the only period they have to get schoolwork done. These circumstances make our district cell phone policy seem very unfair.

What is it hurting for students to use their phones at lunch? Is it because of bullying? Or is it students playing games? If a student is being cyber bullied, all they have to do is show a faculty member their phone; the proof is right there, and it would be a lot more efficient than the whole “he said, she said” routine. Also, if a student really wants to bully someone, they will do it outside of school. Not being allowed on our phones during school is not going to stop anyone from saying what they want.  Maybe cell phone use during lunch is discourage because of students playing games. But if that’s the reason, then why? It’s not like lunch is a graded class where we need to pay attention. It’s a time for us to relax and have fun.

During an interview with Mrs. Rupp, she was asked what the district’s reasoning is for banning the use of cell phones at lunch. She stated, “Students can use their cell phones in irresponsible ways. They can access their social media, and there’s nothing we can do to shut it down. I also want to promote person to person communication, since there is enough use of cell phones outside of school.”

In an effort to offer a resolution to the cell phone usage policy during lunch, The Bark turned to a neighboring school district to compare policies. At Union School District, teachers have posters with stop lights on them in their classrooms that indicate whether or not students are allowed to use their phones. If the light is red, the teacher doesn’t allow cell phones at all. If it’s yellow, they allow cell phones, but must be monitored by the teacher. If it’s green, they completely allow the use of cell phones during any time. Just as Union’s teachers are able to do, our teachers are fully capable of managing their classrooms and the cafeteria to ensure that this device policy is effective. In the future, Union’s stoplight system could change Redbank Valley’s cell phone problem for good. All that’s left to do is give it a chance.

Redbank is growing technologically with the new addition of Chromebooks and Google Classroom. Ironically, we are still stuck in a school district where cell phones are taken during lunch. It’s time for a change that the students have been begging for, and we believe that students will be responsible enough to handle themselves and their cell phones.

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Pictured above is our policy (left) for use of Chromebooks during lunch. This poster excludes the use of cell phones completely. (Right) Union School District’s stop light policy regarding the use of cell phones during the day.