WHS implements new cellphone policy


Credit: Mischa Lee

At the beginning of class, a student drops their phone into a phone holder slot because of the new WHS phone policy. All classrooms have the phone holders put up, but it is up to the teacher to decide whether or not they implement the phone policy.

Mischa Lee and Emma Zocco

Social media platforms such as BeReal, TikTok and Snapchat became increasingly popular at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. At the same time, many noticed a nationwide trend of phone policies being placed at high schools in Massachusetts.

At the beginning of the school year at Wayland High School, the new phone policy was implemented for teachers to decide whether students keep their phone in their bags, in a bin at the front of the classroom or in a phone holder during class. As of now, the policy is only instituted in classrooms because the phone usage problem was originally noticed in classrooms.

“Last year, we noticed that the use of phones in the classroom was becoming a big problem [because] people were distracted,” Vice Principal Sean Gass said. “There was definitely a lot less engagement and interaction [in classrooms].”

When students heard of the new policy, many were upset and confused as to why the policy was put into place. Now, many still believe it is unfair to have their cellphones confiscated during class.

“At first I was surprised because I never expected [the phone policy] to happen and I didn’t really think there was a point to it,” sophomore Katelyn Chirayath said.

Many students didn’t believe that cell phones impacted their learning before the phone policy was put into place. Now, these students find that the new policy doesn’t affect their learning either.

“Last year, I would occasionally check my phone during a class and I would still get all my work done,” sophomore Georgia Blackburn said. ”It wasn’t like I was on [my phone for] the entire [class].”

Several students shared that they used to only check their phone during class for texts from family members. Now, some students are worried that they may receive an urgent message from a family member, and be unable to reply because their phone is unreachable from their seat.

“Occasionally I would check to see if my mom texted me, but other than that, I never really noticed a problem [in phone usage].” said Chirayath.

Although the new policy has faced criticism from some students, many teachers find that the new phone rules have only improved the WHS learning environment. English Teacher Sara Snow was excited to hear of the new phone policy. Before the policy was put into place, she found that phones not only negatively affected her students’ learning, but also her teaching.

“I was finding that I was reluctant to even turn my back to write something on the board, because I felt that in that moment when my back was turned, students would be on their phones,” Snow said.

Many parents and teachers support the policy because they can see the effects that phones have on their children and students.

“The communal spirit in the classroom is better [after the phone policy],” Snow said. “Rather than seeing folks come in and [being preoccupied with their phones by] Snapchatting people, they are coming in and feeling more [whole] as a class. ”

The WHS school system hopes that students will be more connected with each other instead of their technology as a result of the new phone policy.

“[The phone policy] is [about WHS] becoming more connected as a community,” Gass said. “I think every adult and everyone in our society right now are too connected to our technology and are missing some connections with each other. I think we can do better than this.”