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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

New School Year, New Rules: Gretna Public Schools Updates Cellphone Policy

New+School+Year%2C+New+Rules%3A+Gretna+Public+Schools+Updates+Cellphone+Policy
Madeline Petrick

The Gretna Public Schools (GPS) administration has decided to continue the same cellphone policy as last year, however they have made a significant addition to it by banning listening devices such as AirPods and headphones, too.

Students will only be allowed to use their cellphones and listening devices during passing periods and, if their teacher allows it, the last five minutes of class. However, during those times, students will only be allowed to use one headphone or earpiece. Administration made this requirement so students could still hear important announcements, instructions from faculty, fire alarms or other other alarms.

Although cellphone and headphone use will be prohibited during academic time, there is an exception to this rule. Students will be allowed to use cellphones or headphones if they are being used as part of an academic lesson. Apart from using cellphones and headphones for academic purposes, their usage is completely prohibited during academic time. 

While some may find this policy frustrating, Principal Chad Jepsen believes “this will assist students and teachers academically.  There will be ample time for students to check their phones and use their headphones throughout the day outside of  academic time.”

The decision to implement the addition to the existing cellphone policy was made by the administration and school board in order for students to “maintain focus during class,” Jepsen said. 

“The overall phone policy helps to keep students focused on the teacher’s lesson, engaged during class, allows students to hear the teacher’s instruction and to better participate directly in the classroom lesson,” Jepsen wrote in an email. 

Many experts and educators feel that banning technology, like cellphones and headphones is beneficial to the school environment and the students themselves.

According to The Harvard Gazette, “Michael Rich, an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an associate professor of social and behavioral sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says that phones and school don’t mix: Students can’t meaningfully absorb information while also texting, scrolling, or watching YouTube videos.”

Some staff believe our district’s cellphone and headphone policy is beneficial to creating a more engaging learning environment. 

“I think the cell phone policy has tremendous benefits in my classroom,” science teacher Sierra Arnold said. “It demands presence of the students. By putting your phone up, your focus is more heightened to the task at hand. I love engaging with students who are aware and nothing beats an entire classroom of attentive students ready to learn.”

While support for cellphone and headphone policies is popular among experts and educators, there are students who are against the district’s policy.  

“It’s frustrating when I’m done with all my work and don’t have homework, but I can’t have my phone,” sophomore Emma Montange said. “My phone used to be an incentive for me to get all of my work done, and it was nice to have that freedom, too.”

Aside from students feeling frustrated, some experts are against banning cellphones and headphones because of the behavioral effects on students. 

“Some bans could lead to more students being disciplined when they are caught using phones,” according to Harvard University researcher Dylan Lukes’s research in the National Education Association. “If that discipline leads to students being removed from class or school, learning will be adversely impacted.”

Despite the debate on cellphone and headphone policies, the new GPS policy is guaranteed to be implemented this upcoming school year. As this policy has been incorporated into the handbook, it is not subject to teacher discretion.

While this policy will be enforced during the 2023-2024 school year, handbooks are reviewed and updated annually by the school board as needed, so it is not guaranteed to stay indefinitely. 

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About the Contributor
Madeline Petrick, Editor-in-chief
Madeline Petrick, otherwise known as Madie, is a sophomore at GEHS. She was on the Gretna Media staff at Gretna High last year. This year she is the GEHS Wingspan's Editor-in-chief. Madie has wanted to be a journalist since she was in fourth grade. She loves finding stories to tell and sharing her creativity with the world. As a freshman, Madie won first place for entertainment review writing at the NSAA High School State Journalism championships for Class A. Outside of the journalism world, she devotes her time to writing, swimming and being involved at school. She has swam competitively for the past nine years and continues to swim for the Gretna Swim team which is the joined swim team of GEHS and GHS. Along with journalism and swimming, Madie is a member of the Student Council. She also enjoys spending time with her friends, her dogs and blasting music, mostly Taylor Swift.  This year she won a Best of SNO award for her story "Gretna family, non-profit, inspired by personal experience, create beacon of hope."  
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  • G

    GageAug 4, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    why airpods this be stupid fr fr it helps me get through the day cuz school be miserable

    Reply
    • E

      emmaAug 25, 2023 at 10:32 am

      facts

      Reply