Con: Students should be allowed to use phones in school


Gabby Walter-Ortuño

Students are practicing their French vocabulary on Quizlet Live; a collaborative app used for learning and reviewing educational material.

Gabby Walter-Ortuño, Staff Writer

Among the sounds of students shuffling around and backpacks zipping open, freshman Manis Shad turns on her phone to join Quizlet Live to practice her French vocabulary. Students eagerly collaborate with their groups to win first place as excitement fills the room. After a thrilling couple of minutes, a groan overcomes most of the class; however, a cluster of students cheer once they finish the last question before the rest of the teams. 

Over the past 50 years, technology, particularly phones, have heavily influenced the way we live our lives, from getting our news from social media to using various apps for work or school. Many people claim that students also use their phones for cheating and are a distraction from their curriculum, however, there are many advantages to using cell phones for educational benefit. 

According to a poll taken in the cafeteria on April 28, 94 out of 103 students have used their cellphones in class to complete classwork provided by their teacher. 

Despite the integration of cell phones into our daily lives, in April, Herndon High School (HHS) prohibited the usage of phones in classrooms due to an all-time high in reported phone usage, and overall distraction in class according to WTOP. Despite this, it would be considerably hard to ban cell-phones. Especially since so many students use their phones to learn, which indicates they’re prioritizing and focusing on their academia.  

Two weeks after HHS’s announcement, Fairfax County school board members proposed an alteration to the 2021-2022 student rights and responsibilities manual, which currently states that students can only use their phones if they have the teacher’s permission. The new policy states high school students can only use their phones before and after the first bell, between classes and during lunch. 

“I allow my students to use their phones in class with my permission,” Spanish teacher James Kotula said. “As long as [students] are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, I see no problem with phones in school.” 

According to Family Education , allowing students to carry cell phones gives parents the ability to call their child in case of emergencies. If a student falls ill or forgets something at home, a family member can be on the way to help them through a phone call or text message.

The policy change at Herndon High School means that parents who want to contact their child at school would have to call the main office, according to WUSA9. In times of an emergency, such an arrangement can be inefficient.

“If I need to contact my parents it would be a lot harder,” Shad said. “Especially foreigner parents who would have a harder time understanding. It would just make everyone frustrated.”

Another factor to consider is that many students use their phones for more than just contacting their parents; they also use various apps to further their academics. 

In 2020, there were over 500,000 educational apps according to the Educational App store. Apps like Quizlet, Duolingo, Khan Academy, and other study tools are often used by students to help manage academics and schoolwork.

 Furthermore, according to the Student Tutor Organization, planner apps like calendars promote healthy habits, including organization and time management skills.

In Fairfax County Public Schools, schools provide students with laptops. However, some students claim that the computers are slow and inefficient. 

“I use my phone when I need to access things like SIS or Quizlet,” Shad said. “Using my phone for school makes everything faster and more efficient rather than going on my computer.”