Relaxed cell phone rule?

Conor Flynn, Staff Writer

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At 7:00 a.m., the hallways begin to fill with bleary-eyed students wandering to the cafeteria for breakfast or first period for a quick nap, finding it difficult to navigate the hallways with half open eyes and slow feet. Many of these kids have iPods or their phones out, either by habit or for personal comfort, ignoring the rules that those devices should not be seen starting at 7:00 in the morning.

            It is not just in the mornings either. Students can be found in the middle of a class change, meandering down the hallway, and texting. As the day wears on, they get either bolder or lazier and can be seen everywhere with phones in hand or sometimes even receiving calls on the way to their next class.

These kids even pass teachers or sit in classrooms, which would usually result in a taken-up device and ill-natured mutters and icy stares. It used to be that no student would dare take out his or her phone at any time for fear of having it taken away. However, it seems that now teachers have become more lax with the “no cell phone” rule.

Most kids can walk through the halls, phone in hand, and pass a gauntlet of teachers who do not even bat an eye (excluding all administrators and principals). Of course, it is different in class, where any sign of a phone is met with a sharp “Put it up!” but it is still less harsh than it has been in the past.

Students have been noticing—and taking advantage of—this change. Says senior Andrew Stolorena, “Yeah, as long as I don’t use it, I just leave my phone on my desk; [the teachers] don’t seem to care.” He has even noticed this new freedom in the hallways. “I can text on my way to class and no one really seems to mind.”

What has caused this newfound lack of rule administration? It may be that with the ubiquitous availability of cell phones and their technological advancement—like being connected to the Internet at all times and having access to any information needed—teachers believe that in the long run it may help the students learn. The kids can in touch with the happenings of the world and remain globally connected and involved, as long as it is not happening in class.

Or perhaps the teachers feel that since a cell phone exists in the pocket of every student, it would be useless to take up all phones they see between 7:00 a.m. and 2:10 p.m. The school would be flooded after hours with parents coming to pick up the device and giving their children and stern but exhausted lecture on “paying attention.” The administration of the rule between classes would just be too much work.

It could be the simplest answer of all however. Maybe the teacher feels that since technology is so ubiquitous among teens and teachers are not restricted to that rule, they do not want to get into the age-old argument of “But if you can use yours, why can’t I use mine?”