I’m the principal of a middle school, and this year our district made a change that has exceeded my expectations in the impact it has made: we implemented a new cellphone/personal device policy. The expectation for all students is that cell phones/personal devices are powered off and locked in their lockers from 7:41-2:50. Most of our kids are rocking this new policy, and I have to say that there’s been very little resistance.
In fact, I think our kids are relieved.
Since no one can have it, there’s no reason to check your device every five seconds to see who has texted, snapped or posted. Kids are engaged in educational activities during classes, and our lunch room is loud. I couldn’t be happier about the volume in our lunchroom these days. No devices at lunch means kids are sitting together laughing, talking, and eating. They’re engaged in the moment and not glued to a screen. Teachers report that kids seem happier and less stressed and maybe we’ve helped cure any future neck problems they may have had by starting down at their hands/phone. Just kidding. Not really.
I’m not completely naive, and I know it’s probably still the honeymoon period, but I believe in our kids and teachers, and I think this is the best policy change we’ve made in years. Kids will get to learn and practice communication skills in person. They’ll get to focus on here and now instead of what will be posted to or about them in the future or while they’re in class. They can be kids in school. Period.
Diana Tate, Aubry Bend Middle School Principal, Overland Park, KS