Possible phone policy change at BHS

Discussing the phone policy at Bigfork High School

The cell phone policy at Bigfork High School has been a popular subject in the eyes of students and staff alike.  Many teachers have differing opinions about this policy. And though they differ one thing remains the same, humans as a whole are addicted to the tech world.

   In 2018 approximately 2.53 billion people owned a smartphone worldwide according Statista. And 77 percent of Americans owned a smart phone as of January 2018 according to Pew Research Center. “Americans check their phone on average once every 12 minutes – burying their heads in their phones 80 times a day” says South West News Service.

   Beau Wielkoszewski, Network Technician at Bigfork High School, says “I totally appreciate that people need technology and access to technology. We try to do that as much as we can at the school district, but I am the first to put down technology to have a face to face conversation…which most people don’t do.”

    According to CBS Philadelphia and a study done on 4,000 18 to 34 year old’s states that 7 out of 10 millennials would rather text than have a face to face conversation, which acquaints to 74 percent of respondents.

   Charlie Appleby, senior English teacher at Bigfork High School responds to the situation saying, “I am sure you have heard it all before. [Students] spend too much time on [their] phones and are often using them for embarrassingly inane reasons.  I am personally invested in helping [students] keep [their] phones at BHS. To do that, though, a change must occur. Students must have a fundamental understanding of what proper use means.”

    Other teachers, such as, Amber Britt, Art teacher at Bigfork Highschool, agree and states, “I think our job as educators is to teach self-moderation…There is no avoiding cell phones. They are around us. And kids are going to need to learn how to deal with that.”

Wielkoszewski also states, “I am not a proppant of getting rid of phones entirely…but just like any tool handled incorrectly…if you don’t do it in moderation then all the sudden everyone is abusing that privilege.”

   On a more global platform, Information and Communication Technology Educator, Damian Maher, states that, “teachers have an important role to teach students to be safe online.”

   However, Danielle Einstein, a physiologist, disagrees saying, “the mere presence of one’s phone consumes attention even when it is not being checked” and “the introduction of smartphones has led to a decline in people’s ability to cope with uncertainty”

At Bigfork High School though a policy has not been reached yet, each teacher has an idea of their ideal ultimate goal.

   Band Director, Randi Tunnel states that she thinks the ultimate goal of a cell phone policy is “To teach students technology control, etiquette and proper use.” Tunnel also agrees that it is “absolutely” a respect and management issue. And would “support a cell phone ban during academic hours.”

   Shop teacher, Steve Melkioty, says “I think my personal opinion and the opinion of many Americans is that is counterproductive. It creates a weak link in the society of the students…it teaches young people what is never allowed in the industry…My personal opinion when it comes to using it as a tool, I don’t believe, there is enough positives to outweigh the negatives it creates…It creates havoc for teachers having to police it… and I don’t see any good in it.”

   Britt however feels “that cell phones can be a usable tool and a very useful tool in the classroom…in my own classroom I do have policies and they are allowed to use their phone for resources…I feel like students understand that policy pretty well.”

    Interestingly, Wielkoszewski takes a different look on the situation saying ,“My ultimate goal is often not as an employee, it is as a tax payer… you are going to come to school and get an awesome education…I completely divorce from technology a lot of times when I’m not here. I go out and run and back pack and ice climb and do everything. So, I would love for students to be taught how to live in both worlds.”

Lou Jessop, Freshman English teacher, hopes “to move all of high school toward a more collegiate environment and atmosphere anyways. You certainly never going to see or very few colleges suddenly ban cell phones. Yet when you are trying to prepare kids for college and they will have those devices there, I think there is a conundrum there…I think it is a losing battle. Ultimately social media and the tech industry is going to lead education. Education isn’t going to lead it.”

   Technology is a part of everyday life in 2019, but how is it effect lives?

  “Could you go a week without your cellphone?” Wielkoszewski askes.

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