Pull Off Those Hoods, Put Away Those Phones!

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Pull Off Those Hoods, Put Away Those Phones!

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This year at Harvest Middle School, we have two rules that are being firmly enforced. This new focus on cellphones and hoodies are leaving some students a bit annoyed.

“Why?” students are asking. 

But the truth is, these rules have been in place for a while. This year teachers and staff are taking them a lot more seriously, for many good reasons.    

Cellphones

“We are so addicted to our cellphones. Having a stricter policy keeps us away from our phone,” said Cristal Aguayo. 

However, students should know that this policy is affecting not only Harvest but all the public schools in California. The California Assembly, the officials in Sacramento in charge of making laws for California, has recently passed a bill to give schools more authority to restrict cell phone use.

Assembly Bill 272 Pupils: use of smartphones (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov ) says letter by letter, “This bill would explicitly authorize the governing body of a school district, a county office of education, or a charter school to adopt a policy to limit or prohibit the use by its pupils of smartphones while the pupils are at a school site or while the pupils are under the supervision and control of an employee or employees of that school district, county office of education, or charter school.”

They have taken this action because of what they have learned about the negative consequences of too much time on cell phones at school and at home:

  • They have found that students having their phones out a lot can cause serious mental health problems and interferes with their education.
  • In September 2018, France banned phones altogether from public schools because of the distraction and social isolation they caused.
  • Research shows that test scores go down with unlimited cell phone use and have been seen to go up when there are restrictions.
  • Perhaps most concerning, being on your phone too much can lead to severe problems like depression and suicide. “8th grade pupils who spend 10 or more hours per week on social media are 56 percent more likely to describe themselves as unhappy”.

The bill would, however, specify circumstances in which a pupil could not be prohibited from possessing or using a smartphone, like with the permission of a teacher.

The consequences for using a cell phone without permission are, according to Ms. Genesis, “The first and second time you get caught you will get your phone back end of the the day. The third time your phone will have to get picked up by your parent, and the fourth time you need to sign a contract that you will not bring your phone to school”.

Ms. Hoxsie says, “I like it, not having phones helps students focus during class”.

In the end, the rules are being enforced for the good of the students. 

 

Hoodies

Hoodies (sweatshirt hoods) have always been a source of conflict between teachers and students. Many students try to use hoods to hide things like earbuds as well as avoid eye-contact with the teachers. But now, hoods are banned completely at Harvest. Students are no longer allowed to wear hoods on a school campus. 

If you look on page 32 of the 2019-2020 Binder Reminder it states clearly, in bold, “For safety reasons, hoods cannot be worn on campus at all during the school day or during school activities.”

  Wearing hoods is a safety issue, and schools aren’t the only ones banning them. Many banks and malls have also been banning them as well. This is due to the fact that hoods have been used to mask a person’s face, preventing identification in the event of a robbery or shooting. 

Ms. Genesis from the office staff says, “Hoodie’s are a safety issue because when looking at someone from behind you cannot tell who someone is”.

 As well as identification, hoodies are causing other problems. “There was a lot of vandalism last year,” states Ms. Zorn, “That is another reason the hood policy is being enforced more”. 

Basically, surveillance cameras used to keep the school and students safe do not work well if a person cannot be identified at all because a hoodie covers their head. This is especially important with school shootings becoming such a growing problem.

 

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