Recently, our school administration begun debating something that has since turned into a district-wide debate: the topic of where to draw the line between cell phone use and school hours. Each day, students get their phones taken away either because they were checking the time, or because their ringer had gone off in class, but what if cell phones were encouraged during certain times rather than labeled as a violation of school rules?
At the moment, my school has adopted what they call a “bell to bell policy.” With this, everyone is able to be on their phones on the bus and in the cafeteria until the “get to homeroom right now” bell goes off at 7:40am; we also cannot be on them all throughout the day until the dismissal bell rings at 2:44pm. For most, this isn’t an issue, though some enjoy testing their luck during class.
The main proposal is that we should be able to use our phones during the thirty minute lunch period. An argument that was brought up was how our phones could distract and prevent us from engaging in any conflict. I can’t speak for other schools, but the majority of fights that occur at my school happen in the cafeteria. This could be a result of the immediate downtime thrown at students after sitting in classrooms for hours beforehand, or the sudden loud, crowded atmosphere that provides plenty of room in which friends can gossip and discuss any drama. But, as any good argument, there are two sides to this.
On one side, there is the view that, by letting us have our phones out at lunch, it will keep us from fighting or engaging in conflict in general. Our phones will provide a distraction, causing less verbal or physical confrontation. The other side is that, instead of providing a distraction, the phones will create a catalyst for a greater number of fights. People, mainly adults, believe that, while on our phones, everyone would be texting the person across from them in order to talk about someone else behind their back.
I believe that there is a strong argument for both sides, but I do think that cell phone use while at lunch would have a greater positive impact on the school’s environment rather than a negative. Sometimes students are happiest when they are able to simply scroll through their Twitter timeline, take funny Snapchat videos with their friends or talk to a friend or family member outside of their school. After a few hours of taking notes, watching educational videos and taking tests, wouldn’t you want a break?