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Student News of Liberty High School


Student News of Liberty High School


Student News of Liberty High School


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New Ban on Cell Phone Use Leaves Students Upset and Wondering, ‘What’s the Point?’

New district wide phone policy has created controversy within the schools
Meghan Lynch
Any use of a cell phone in school results in immediate punishment, usually in the form of a lunch detention.

For the first time in Liberty history, the school has placed an almost total ban on cellphones. Whether this new policy is for better or for worse remains to be seen. 

This policy was first enacted because students have been abusing the technological freedom we have at Liberty. Students would be on their phones during lectures and work time instead of being productive, and there was also an issue with headphones being used when they weren’t supposed to be. However, I think the most significant reason for the new cell phone policy was students using their phones to cheat on assignments, quizzes, and tests. 

If I’m being completely fair, I understand why the school board felt the need to put harsher restrictions on cell phones. But I also think that this new rule isn’t going to be as effective as they thought it would be. The students that don’t want to do their work still aren’t going to get it done, kids who were sleeping in class are still going to try to sleep, and students are just going to go back to more creative ways of cheating. Taking away a kid’s phone doesn’t automatically give them the motivation to work hard and do well in school. It kind of feels like the district is grasping at straws to make kids care, and I really don’t think it’s going to work that well. 

I’m disappointed, but I think we can improve.

— Jacob Rayford (11)

If anything, this new policy seems to only be making kids annoyed with the district. The general consensus I’ve gathered is that the students somewhat understand why this rule has been put in place, but they still think it’s unnecessary and irritating. Students like junior Jacob Rayford are frustrated with the new policy. “I’m disappointed, but I think we can improve.” Our student body dislikes not having a way to be connected to their peers and the outside world. Sometimes, when we get so caught up in our school lives, it can help to know that there is a whole other world outside of Liberty High School. According to the Harvard Gazette, “Some Harvard experts say instructors and administrators should consider learning how to teach with tech instead of against it…they [students] face a school environment seeking to take away their main source of connection.”

The teaching staff, on the other hand, have expressed many times how much they support the ban on cell phones. The common stance of teachers and administrators is that the absence of technology in classrooms is very beneficial and that students are now paying more attention. From a student’s point of view, I admit that there is truth to what they’re saying, but I don’t think that it’s entirely accurate. I’ve noticed that students talk to each other more and classroom participation is a little bit higher. However, I do think that it’s a minimal difference and there are other factors that go into those observations. I know my attentiveness hasn’t increased, although it may seem that way because my focus isn’t on my phone, and I suspect it’s the same for my peers.

Personally, my biggest complaint with the new phone policy is how the school board has greatly underestimated how often us students use our phones for school. We use it for Saturn—an app that allows students to track the bell schedule—as a planner for homework, to upload photos for an assignment, to listen to music for better focus, a timer, a calculator, to talk to parents about transportation, the list goes on. 

“With their easy internet access, a multitude of education-friendly apps, and the ability to be used at a moment’s notice, smartphones have all the tools necessary to boost student learning,” says the National Education Association. Even teachers have said that some of their assignments won’t work anymore because students can’t use their phones. Not being able to use our phones is a big inconvenience and could possibly interfere with our learning. 

It’s not just the phone ban, either. If it was, I don’t think the reaction would be as harsh. But the district put their foot down and created multiple more restrictions that give us students less freedom. Last year, Power Lunch was used for club meetings, academic assistance, study hour, et cetera., and now they’ve walled off the hallways so that kids can’t go anywhere after the first 5 minutes of each lunch half. That is what people are most upset about: their sudden lack of freedom and self-determination. And it’s even worse for the kids who have always done their work and paid attention and were honest. The good students, which is by far the majority, are getting punished for a problem they weren’t a part of, and it’s extremely unfair.

In an ideal world, the district could make cell phones, along with other things, something students could earn. Meaning, every student with a 2.5 GPA and above would have the privilege to use their phones and earbuds. A 3.0 GPA is the national average, so having a 2.5 should account for everyone who is trying their hardest. If it were impossible for a student to get those grades, whether it be because of a learning disorder, special needs, or other circumstances, which is entirely understandable, then we could come up with separate rules for those students, but for most of the student body a 2.5 is an attainable GPA. Students still shouldn’t be on their phones during lectures or when their attention is required elsewhere—and for those times we could keep the immediate lunch detentions—but during independent work or when all other assignments are finished, students who earn it should have the freedom to use their phones.

With nothing more beneficial to do, students spend a significant amount of Nest Time bored and tired. (Meghan Lynch)

Unfortunately, a policy like that could be difficult to enforce and have multiple complications. So if that’s unrealistic, students should at least be able to use their cell phones during Nest Time, when one might want to listen to music or watch a show. Most people can get their work done fairly quickly and want to do something other than sit there and stare at the wall. And, yes, we’ve all heard the suggestion to “just bring a book,” which for some people could be a great use of that time, but others don’t have the attention span to read for an hour and a half straight or just don’t like to read. I truly don’t think students having their phones out for an hour and a half every week is going to do much harm at all. 

As a young adult who personally understands and has experienced the harmful effects of social media, I think that it’s ridiculous to expect kids to be off their phones all the time. We live in the age of technology and social media isn’t going away. If anything it’s only going to get worse, so shouldn’t schools teach us how to balance our real lives and work and technology? Instead of trying to ban phones, help us all adjust to the world we live in.

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About the Contributor
Meghan Lynch
Meghan Lynch, Reporter
Meghan Lynch is a sophomore at and this is her second year in publications. Alongside publications, Meghan is on tech crew for Liberty’s theater program and has helped with many productions in the past. In her free time, she likes to read, watch TV, and hang out with her friends. In the future, she hopes to be a journalist at someplace like the Washington Post or the New York Times.

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  • A

    A Teacher | Sep 12, 2023 at 6:12 pm

    It’s nice to see the students’ perspective, but I think you’re leaving out valuable information when you don’t include the perspective of a school/district employee.

    This new policy isn’t about “taking freedom,” or disconnecting you from the outside world — it’s not even about the students that listened to music or used their phones as calculators — it’s about the unbelievable amount of time students spent distracting others on their phones. In my class, I took the stance that students are (or should be) old enough to make their own choices, and they should be accountable for their education. If a student chose to play on their phone or watch Netflix, so be it, that’s how they want to spend their time. I had no problem with that. What I had a problem with, though, is when it distracted other people. Distract yourself all you want, but others shouldn’t hear it or see it; you shouldn’t get up and walk across the room in the middle of a lesson to show your friend a post.

    Further, all the “beneficial” or academic uses you listed for the phone are valid, but they are also available and easily accessible on Chromebooks, and every student has one.

    As a teacher, I agree it’s sad and disappointing that it has come to this, but this is necessary after students have become so incredibly entitled and believe they are the boss in the classroom. All we ask is for 50 minutes of your time, or even just for you to not distract others. You have many more hours in the day to do what you want.

  • K

    Kay Copeland | Sep 12, 2023 at 4:53 pm

    What an insightful and impactful piece on the new phone policy! I’ve been looking forward to seeing this coverage from a student’s perspective.