Ring, ring

Neshaminy High School announces new phone policy

Emily Myers and Julianna Musser

By now, everyone should be aware that there is a new phone policy in place at Neshaminy High School. Shifting from a typical school experience, to the COVID-19 era, to now trying to get everything back to normalcy, there have been many significant changes. One of the most controversial ones is the stricter phone policy. Many students and teachers have differing opinions on the matter and we, the Playwickian, want those stances to be acknowledged.
To introduce this new policy to the students and parents, the NHS staff sent a letter home. The staff is taking a more serious approach to combat this issue because of past problems NHS students have faced, which were only amplified during the pandemic.
“Over the past few years, one of the biggest distractions from student learning and collaboration has been student cell phone, smart watch, and headphone usage,” the letter stated. The letter also stated that their goal as a district is to “produce life-long learners and productive citizens.”
The principal of NHS, Stephen Garstka, discussed the specific reason why this policy was created.
“The idea is that if the temptation to be on your phone is taken away, then [students are] more likely to be engaged in class,” he said.
While it may seem dramatic, this policy is being enforced more firmly because of the effect that the pandemic had on students.
Acknowledging this, Christopher Dicicco, teacher and head of the English department, said, “As a society, we went through some turmoil and it was rather intense, and, rightfully so. A lot of people turned to find comfort where they could, and some of that was connecting very quickly with friends and peers on social media.”
Coming back from the quarantine years, students have grown to be very reliant on their phones, which made it difficult to adapt to this new policy.
So far, it’s clear that the seniors at NHS are finding it more difficult than the other grade levels as they were comfortable with the lax rules from years prior. The freshmen, in contrast, are having an easier time due to the fact that this is their first year at the high school.
“It’s almost the same [as middle school]. It’s a little less strict, but almost equal,” a freshman at NHS said.
A specific issue that students are having with this policy is that they feel as though their freedom is being taken away and that something very personal to them, their phones, shouldn’t be allowed to be confiscated.
Discussing the repercussions against students who choose to still use their phones in class, a NHS senior said, “It’s way too harsh to receive an in-school suspension for purely using your own phone.”
On the other hand, Garstka believes that “kids and teenagers need structure whether they know that or not,” and that the structure this policy offers will alleviate stress by letting students know exactly what to expect when it comes to phone usage in class.
Overall, this new policy enforcement has clear intentions, whether you agree with them or not, but students are finding it hard to adapt so quickly to a change that was so rapid and unexpected.