Jefferson administration introduces strict enforcement of current cellphone policy


Avni Singh

This year using your cellphone in the hallway could lead to strict consequences if it is during an instructional period. As the number of offenses increases, the severity of the consequence will also increase.

Avni Singh, Team Leader

Starting the first day of school, Jefferson administration has decided to monitor the use of cellphones and electronic devices more closely and to be more strict with the enforcement of the current policy regarding the use of these items.

The cell phone policy states that students should only bring personal devices for specific use in classes where the teacher has permitted them. Personal devices are only allowed during passing, lunch and eighth period, except with teacher permission; and personal devices are not allowed while students are walking to a restroom during an instructional period.

“Do not distract yourself from great learning opportunities,” Principal Evan Glazer said. “Make your restroom trip short without a phone.”

This policy is in accordance with the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Students Right and Responsibilities (SRR) handbook, which states that students are expected to use personal devices ethically and follow rules for safety and security.

There are several reasons that prompted stricter enforcement of the policy, including “distractions to the teaching and learning environment, disrespect to teachers, loss of learning and compulsive reliance on social media,” Glazer said.

Consequences for violating the policy will appear on a student’s record, and will increase in severity as the number of offenses increase. These consequences include meeting with administration and have a warning placed on the student’s record.

Future violations will require parents required to pick up the phone if it is confiscated, a 30-calendar day loss of privilege, and on the fourth offense, loss of privilege for the remainder of the year.

Photo courtesy of Erinn Harris. This school year administration will be more strict with enforcing the cellphone policy and has increased the severity of the consequences for violating the policy.
Photo courtesy of Erinn Harris. This school year administration will be more strict with enforcing the cellphone policy and has increased the severity of the consequences for violating the policy.

“Administration, security, and staff will confiscate phones if seen being used in hallways, bathrooms, and offices during instructional periods,” Glazer said. “Phones will be submitted to the principal’s office for retrieval by the student at the end of the day.”

Though this stricter enforcement is meant to maximize the learning experience of all Jefferson students, some students believe that the consequences for violating the policy are too strict.

“The new policy is really severe and I think there’s no reason that we shouldn’t be allowed to use our cell phones in the hallway if we’re not in class,” junior Emily Quan said. “We’re high schoolers and we go to Jefferson. If we’re responsible enough to take quantum physics, why not use an iPhone?”

The second consequence, which requires parents to pick up a cellphone if it is confiscated, could be an inconvenience to parents since Jefferson has students from a variety of locations, some of which are a substantial distance from the school.

“Jefferson isn’t a normal high school where everyone lives within a few miles, and there’s no way some parents can drive up to two hours just to pick up a cell phone,” sophomore Prabhat Adusumalli said.

Despite the repercussions of not following the policy, some students are in favor of the policy in general.

“Honestly, I don’t think this new policy is something students should get upset over,” senior Audrey Huang said. “I have always thought that you needed to ask teacher permission before using your phone in class anyway; the fact that this is a ‘stricter’ update on the cell phone policy means people must have been blatantly pulling out their phone in the middle of class, which is very rude in my opinion.”

Some teachers are in favor of the strict enforcement and emphasize that there should be a clear divide between using personal devices to play games or visit social media sites and using personal devices to cheat on tests.

“If you’re on Facebook in my class, then I as a teacher should make an example of you, take your phone, make you squirm and embarrass you,” History teacher Kurt Waters said. “If, on the other hand, you’re using your phone in my class or in the hallway to communicate the content of an assessment, then you should be expelled from Jefferson. Two different types of inappropriate use warrant two different types of consequences.”

They also believe adherence to the policy will help students in the long run.

“I feel limiting mobile technology may help students to stay focused and may avoid some unfortunate honors violations, too,” English teacher Jennifer Seavey said. “The punishments have also been stepped up a notch, and I hope students heed the changes and avoid the consequences.”