Use It and Lose It!

Photo by Evelynn Coffie 

(left: Kayla Red, middle: Esperanza Milla, right: Anifah Foster) 

By Evelynn Coffie

After the first-day assembly on August 13th, teachers and staff have been cracking down on cell phone usage for the 2019-2020 school year.  

According to the Lusher High School Student Handbook, “Cell phones and other electronic devices (iPods, Smartwatches, etc.) must be turned off and kept out of sight when a student enters campus and throughout the school day. Cell phones may only be turned on and used after the dismissal bell has rung and after the student has exited the building.”   

This rule has remained, but the administration made a few changes. 

Students are not supposed to be on their phones for any reason, unless a teacher gives students permission to use phones for a specific purpose. Failure to comply results in the following:

First offense: A teacher has the authority to confiscate their device and turn it into the dean of students--Mr.Byers or Mr.Smith-- which results in a one-day confiscation and detention. 

Second offense: Week-long confiscation of the device and week-long detention. 

Third offense:  Confiscation of the device for two weeks and two-week detention.

Fourth offense: The dean of students will confiscate the device for four weeks, followed by multiple detentions or a possible suspension. Students who do want to retrieve their devices must pick them up after school ends at 3:35 PM.

The new policy requires teachers to immediately confiscate phones that are visible in pockets or used in class and turn them into the dean. Some teachers have approved of the new cell phone policy because it helps reduce disruptions in class. Dr. Campbell, middle and high school Creative Writing teacher, commended the administration for their cell phone crackdown. “I believe in the prolific scientific studies linking cell phone usage with stress," Cambell said. 

Esperanza Milla and Kayla Red, seniors who have been at Lusher since freshman year, argued against changes in the cell phone policy. “It’s not fair that teachers can take away a student’s phone, especially if that student needs it outside of school,'' said Milla.

Dr. Corbett, principal of Lusher Charter High School, said, "The new policy is actually less strict than in the past.  Originally, it was a 9-week confiscation, and students could pay $50 to retrieve their phones. There were inequities with who would receive their phone back after confiscation, since not everyone has $50 ready to pay to get it back."

Compared to last year's policy, the administration "eliminates the $50 charge for those who may or may not be able to get phone.  That cell phone policy from 10 years ago was written at a time when cell phones weren’t as pertinent. In this day and age, cell phones are important for navigation, communication, school work, and all those things. Parents and kids are more receptive when you say, 'Lose it for a week'." 

Many students, however, were indifferent since they haven’t yet been subject to detention or confiscation. Some students believe that they should be able to use cell phones during lunch because it’s their only free time inside of school. The cell phone policy does not apply to after school activities, so students may go on their phones during that time.  But while school is in session, the policy is in effect. 

The new consequences for the cell phone policy have made it much more difficult for students to sneak phones in class. The consequences, on the other hand, are much lighter compared to previous years. Teachers and staff have kept a more watchful eye to prevent distractions and ensure that students glue their eyes to the board, not to their phones.