A cell phone addiction defeated by policies? Teachers say “yes”

Peja Kekerovic, Staff Reporter

Canyon Ridge High School first opened in August 2009 and as of August 2022 staff and teachers have finally introduced a school-wide policy regarding cell phones and AirPods. Students are now expected to have cell phones put away during class either in their bags or the new “cell phone caddy”, in each classroom for holding phones. They are located in every teacher’s room, usually next to their desk. If caught using a cell phone, students are immediately sent down to the office.

 So why exactly was this policy even introduced? To answer this I talked to Dr. Teske, CRHS principal who stated, “ Every year around spring we reflect with teachers in a variety of different ways and start listening to their concerns, and it boiled down to two things: kids not attending school, and their apathy.”

The staff concluded that the main driving factor for the abundance of apathy in the classroom was cell phones. Teske also stated, cell phones were a “hot topic” among teachers last year, and “It had gotten to a point where it was at its worst level.” Knowing this, Teske and the Building Leadership Team, a team of core teachers helping to make school decisions, as Dr.Teske describes it, met together and made a plan that would address the concerns of the teachers. 

 For the majority of teachers and staff at the Ridge, the cell phone policy has been a breath of fresh air. When asked about the effects of the policy,  Mrs. Phipps, an English teacher at Canyon Ridge, said, “There are  fewer distractions and I love it!” Mrs. Franklin, a family consumer science teacher, said, “More student engagement” as a result of the policy. She’s noticed students are talking more to each other and have been a lot more communicative compared to last year and are often engaging more with school work and their peers rather than their cell phones. 

This engagement seems to be infectious and allows teachers here at Canyon to feel like they’re actually teaching again. “Student engagement is through the roof,” claimed Mrs. Ostrowski, a biology teacher at Canyon Ridge. Ostrowski also noted that students have been turning in work on time significantly more compared to last year and testing scores have also had an improvement. 

 Staff and teachers at Canyon Ridge first heard about a policy being put into place towards the end of last school year (2021-2022) and ever since have had mixed reviews. When asked about their first thoughts when they heard about the cellphone policy, Ostrowski questioned “How hard was it going to be to manage.” Phipps stated, “ I was hesitant and didn’t want to take on that fight.” The fight she’s referring to is his enforcing the policy on students and making sure they are all on the same page regarding cell phones. 

Other teachers celebrated the fact that they no longer had to tolerate cell phones in class. “ I was glad that we were finally enforcing something that would stop kids from being distracted in class.” Said Franklin. She felt as if phones would “take students’ priority level at school,” and transfer it toward whatever they might be looking at on their phones, which they absolutely did. Mrs. Bauman, an English teacher at Canyon Ridge stated, “I was excited, I was all about it!”

Now that the school year has started and the policy has been put into place, Phipps, as well as the majority of teachers I’ve spoken with at CRHS, noticed that they don’t have to instruct students to put cell phones away nearly as much as they did last year. “I don’t have to enforce it as harshly as I did last year because all of the teachers in the building are enforcing it as well,” claims Bauman.

It’s obvious teachers here at the Ridge are already enjoying what the new phone policy has brought this school year. Keep in mind this is just the teacher’s perspective on the policy, but that’s only half of the story. This is just one part of a series that’s focused on the new cell phone policy. An upcoming story from the student’s perspective will be featured soon.