Lawrence High’s new phone policy divides students, staff alike

New policy more strictly limits cell phone usage in class


Aaron Novoseltsev

Avoiding her math homework, a student scrolls on her phone during class.

By Oliver Dusk, Reporter

At the beginning of the school year, students and teachers gathered for a schoolwide assembly, where Principal Jessica Bassett announced a new policy limiting and restricting cell phone use.

As students and teachers alike began to accustom themselves to the policy, agreements were hard to find. Discrepancies, however, weren’t, and they appeared in attempts to find common ground on the policy’s general morality or realistic nature.

The policy would be “bell to bell,” and students who failed to cooperate with it would face punishments such as having their parents called and losing their phone during the school day. 

One of the many teachers who affirmed the positive nature of the policy was social studies teacher Fran Bartlett. “I have thought and always thought that a cell phone policy is a good thing because a cell phone is a distraction to the learning environment,” Bartlett said. 

Bartlett is not alone in her support. Teachers like science teacher Marci Leuschen are also avid supporters of the policy, saying that cell phones in a classroom environment are unhealthy and nonessential to the learning process.  

“This is something that we teachers have been pushing for a while,” Leuschen said. “It’s too hard to compete with TikTok and friends and all that other stuff.” 

Leuschen notices that students turn to their phones not because of a lack of engagement but because of the addictive nature of the phone itself.

However, not all teachers agree that the cell phone policy helps run a healthy classroom. Film teacher Zach Saltz said the practicality of the policy is unrealistic and that most of the time when students are on their phones, it is for educational purposes. 

“I think cellphones are a vital tool, and I think it’s a little unrealistic to ask students to completely not use them constantly,” Saltz said.

Along with teachers, students’ views on the cellphone policy also vary. 

“Everyone should respect that it is a learning environment, but this is not the number one issue the school should be dealing with right now,” junior Brendan Symons said. “Some teachers are trying to [enforce the policy], but at the same time, kids are kind of sneaky.”

One of the many “sneaky” kids Symons was referencing might be junior Evan Gary.

“I thought it was going to be bad, but teachers don’t care one bit,” Gary said. “I whip my phone out in every class. I’m even listening to music right now — they don’t care.”