Phone Policy: Good or Bad?

Natalie Forman, Staff Reporter

In Brentwood High School’s student handbook under section “Cell Phones and Other Communication Devices,” it reads:

Cell phone use is permissible outside the building before school, during lunch, and after school only. Cell phones and other Communication devices are permissible in the building after school. At all other times, they may not be used or visible (pg. 17).

This is the school’s current phone policy. The policy has both the student body and staff questioning whether it’s beneficial or not. Some think the policy is necessary, many think it isn’t, while most fall somewhere in the middle.
When asked about the phone policy senior Hailey Anderson replied;
“I feel like the new phone policy is a little too strict,” said Hailey Anderson. It’s kind of frustrating that if you’re not doing work or not bothering anyone you’re not allowed to pull it out.”
As a senior, Anderson has been a student at Brentwood before the Covid-19 pandemic changed school policies, so she would know better than most of our under-classmen about the rules. In addition to finding the policy too strict, she expressed concerns with how it might be exclusive to some people’s needs.

“A lot of people listen to music or need something going on in the background. I obviously think there should be rules for the phones but I don’t think it should be as strict as it is now.

Students seem to be more focused but at the same time it’s like- a lot of students are finding ways around it. It’s counterproductive.”

Of course, a senior’s opinion might be different than a freshman’s opinion. Mark Butler, a new freshman who came from San Diego this past summer, said; “I am new, but I understand. I understand the need between kids wanting to use phones and trying to not. still think it’s stupid. Overall though Brentwood is a much better school than where I came from. BHS is a lot more organized. I can’t really complain.”
When asked about the biggest negative to the new policy, Butler said,
“In my opinion, it makes it a bit hard to navigate if your schedule is on your phone. Additionally, it makes things a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes you just need to use your phone.”
As for why the policy could possibly be a good thing, Butler said,
“I would say that it probably prompts a ‘better learning environment’, but I’m new so I can’t say much.”
In regards to the policy, freshmen Madison Pierce, who has been in the Brentwood district since she was 9, said, “I think that it is strict but it is good- so people aren’t on their phones as much in class.” She continued, “It helps me focus in class a lot more.” For Pierce, what she misses the most about using her phone in class is being able to listen to music in certain classes.

Based on student responses, there seems to be a common trend among students that they can focus better without phones. As far as staff opinion, The Nest spoke with Madame Hood, the school’s French teacher.

“I mean- it just seems like going back to the phone policy pre-covid,” said Madam Hood in regards to this year’s phone policy.
Madame has been teaching at Brentwood before the school had strict rules for phones. She probably has the most holistic view on this. When asked about the biggest issues with the policy, she brought up how hard it was to monitor the phones outside of the classrooms. “I think it’s that if the kids are gonna use their phone they’re going to use it,” she said. “Like if they go to the bathroom and use it then we can’t monitor it. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s very hard for us to regulate and enforce the zero phone use rule.”
She did say the biggest pro to stricter enforcement of the policy was that the students seemed to focus better.

Do the pros outweigh the cons here? Even though the policy helps some students, does it hinder others? Should the school lighten up? Both teachers and students are torn on the new policy. So, what should the school do?
The phone policy may be a bit out of date. It’s not fully inclusive of students who need music, and some students might just feel safer if they can have their phones on them. But the school still has its reasons to restrict phone usage in school. So for now, it’s a 0 use policy.