Phone Stoplight, Agree or Disagree?

Photo of the phone stoplights that have been supplied to every classroom.

Taegan Wilczynski

Photo of the phone stoplights that have been supplied to every classroom.

Taegan Wilczynski, Staff Writer

Recently Heritage High School has implemented a phone policy to decrease the amount of distraction that phones may cause during class. Each classroom was given a paper copy of a stoplight and a magnet. Red means no phones, yellow means phones can only be used for school work, and green means you are allowed to use your phone for anything. When the staff and students heard about the phone policy many questions arose.

One of the first questions to pop up was why? Well first off, many can agree that phones are one of the biggest distractors. One study shows that students spend up to 20% of their class time on their phones either texting, surfing the web, or going on social media.

 “I think a lot of people are using phones irresponsibly during class while teachers are talking and it’s very disrespectful,” said Hadley Jones, a freshmen here at HHS. “I also think it’s good that they put the phone policy in classes and that teachers are addressing when phones become a problem because it’s important that we are off our phones, learning, engaging, and showing respect for our teachers as well as our fellow classmates,” said Jones. 

While some agree that having a policy in place will help prevent distraction in class, others feel that it may be unnecessary.

“It feels a little elementary, because let’s say for instance, I just want to say it’s a red light. Why do I need to put a marker up on the red light when I can just simply say “put your phones away,” said Mr. Irwin a Social Science teacher. 

Irwin addresses the issue that perhaps this physical system of a stoplight is too immature, and would be overlooked by students and even teachers. 

“If I wanted you to actually use it for school work or class work, or anything of that sort, I would simply say “take out your phones, you can do that” I don’t feel that we need a laminated piece of paper that you should point to.” said Irwin.  

Students also agree that the stoplight system is unnecessary, and just another distraction for both students and teachers. 

“ I think we’re just reinventing the wheel here, cause teachers have already implemented the policies of what they want to see in regards to phones.” said Trent Chemezov, a 9th grader.

Another question that came up was “is it really fair to everyone?” because maybe some students are using their phones more than others, or some students listen when teachers say put your phones away and some don’t. But is there more to that? 

“Well some people could forget or, also people just decide to ignore that rule. It’s a good reminder, every class, of the rules, regulations and the teachers standards.” said Jones. 

However, while some students and teachers may agree that it is fair, they still oppose the system completely. 

 “ Well it is fair to everyone, my main point against it is that it’s not particularly effective,” said Chemezov.

Along with being concerned about fairness, some are concerned about what they call a power struggle; that is when 2 or more people are seeking control of something. In this case the something is phones.

 “If you don’t understand when teachers tell you that you have to put your phones away, and that on our part, we can’t do too much because we respect you, and your families who want you to have your phones, then somehow we have to use something that is the least costly and respect[ful] to send you the message that you should be more tuned into class,” said Ms. Tsoumpa, a history and government teacher at Heritage High School.

 “We should appreciate an effort that tries to help students be more focused,” said Tsoumpa.