Eliminate class phone restrictions

Staff Editors

Eighteen-year-olds can enlist in the military and vote for representatives in government, but they are unable to use their cell phones during their high school classes.
Most Cal High teachers have policies regarding phone usage, most of which are understandable. Scrolling through Tik Tok or texting friends during lectures can be a distraction from learning or just plain disrespectful.
But restricting phone usage during the entire 95-minute period by using cellphone “jails” – holders some teachers use for students to store their cellphones during class – takes away an individual’s right to their personal devices.
Teachers are not instructing for the full 95-minute class period. Some subjects use most of the class time to complete assignments in groups or independently. During these times, cell phones do not hinder learning. In fact, they can be used as a benefit when working on tasks.
Classroom boredom after completing assignments can be easily resolved with the option to text friends or catch up with others rather than sitting silently and staring at the walls.
This aligns similarly with the downtime after finishing group work because forcing communication with table groups only works to an extent. Students have been in their fair share of awkward groups where they sat in painful silence. Cell phones can help alleviate some of the nerves and spark conversations in groups.
Taking away phones during class time is also inefficient when it comes to major emergencies that take place on or off campus. In the case of family emergencies, students having access to their phones allows for easier communication between parents and others involved.
As the most recent bomb threat on campus demonstrated, accessing San Ramon police’s Twitter and live updates regarding the situation requires a student’s ability to use their phones.
Without this access, students would not be able to communicate with family and friends, nor understand the legitimacy of the threat.
The reality is our cell phones will become more prevalent as technology continues to grow, so teachers must understand the benefits of these devices. Instead of viewing cell phones primarily as a distraction, teachers should integrate them as part of the curriculum and lessons.
Using technology in activities enforces positive digital awareness and responsibility along with increasing classroom engagement and participation.