Cell phone policy changes rules around use at school

The new cell phone policy changes when students are allowed to use their phones during the school day at Rogers.


Photo by DJ Singleton

A student using their phone instead of working in class.

Rogers Principal Jason Smith implemented a new cell phone policy at the school upon return from winter break, changing the way technology can be used on campus – as well as how violations will be punished.  

Students can still use their phones before and after school and during passing periods, but they are no longer allowed to use them in class unless a teacher explicitly says it is OK; otherwise, they must be put away in a bag or pocket, not sitting on top of their desks.  

There is an exception, however. In the case of a real emergency – not a text from a friend but a real family issue – a teacher can allow a pass for a student to use their phone in a private space for said call. This doesn’t mean a student should consider every text an emergency.   

Breaking the rules has consequences depending on how many times it has happened in a class: 

  • Step 1: Verbal warning 
  • Step 2: Call/email home 
  • Step 3: Student conference with administration 
  • Step 4: Disciplinary action, up to a suspension 

When it comes to this policy’s effects, students are adjusting to a new normal as now instead of phones being OK unless said otherwise, the rule is flipped. It is now not OK unless it is said so. 

“I understand the need to enforce the rules more for the phones, but I believe it will only cause more trouble – teachers will spend more time trying to catch students, while students will spend time finding ways to not get caught,” Cynthia Monroe said. “In this policy, it restricts a lot of things, yet I have been able to follow the rules. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t annoy me – I like having access to my phone for classes.” 

Student Sergey Kholyusev has a similar opinion. 

“Nothing changed,” Kholyusev said. “If you weren’t on your phone all the time, nothing changed. I have one teacher who actually flips the sign, the rest leave it on green.” 

 Student Jonathan Wilber is in agreement with the policy. 

“I feel like the policy is fairly straightforward and definitely should’ve been used in the beginning of the year,” Wilber said. “I’d say that really 6 of my teachers use the policy, though some classes more than others. For example, no one in their right mind is going to be on their phone in AP English.” 

Students are adjusting to this new policy, but why does this policy exist and why not earlier in the year?

“Before the new policy, teachers had it, so they were to set their own policy in their classroom. This was the policy Rogers had when it came to phones,” Smith said.  

But eventually the department leaders got feedback from the staff and decided that a universal policy would be good for staff and students as it could cause less confusion. With the removal of different polices, students would no longer have confusion between classes. 

Smith also said that the policy could have other benefits, such as reducing stress, as students don’t have the fear of missing stuff from friends on socials.

Surrounding high schools such as Graham-Kapowsin, Emerald Ridge and Sumner each have school-wide polices, so it made sense for Rogers to have one, Smith said.