Classroom Distraction


Stephanie Carballo & Moises Garcia , Staff Writers

With electronic entertainment at your fingertips, it is easy to get distracted. This kind of distraction can happen anywhere: at home, the mall, while having a meal, and even during class.

A hot debate is whether or not teachers should be allowed to take students’ cell phones during class. The sounds of students gasping and aggressively clutching their phones to their chests can almost be heard resonating through the halls of Ontario High School. Yes, it is a scary thought to have your prized possession taken away for a whole hour. But maybe being phone free during class could create a better classroom experience for all students and teachers.

We have all seen it. Teachers having to stop class to tell students to put their phones away. These kinds of halts in class do not just affect the student who was using their phone, it affects the whole classroom and takes time away from learning.

Looking at both the pros and cons of this situation, phones can play a positive role in the classroom. Phones can be used as an advantage in teaching. These advanced tools have academic benefits because they can function as calculators, applications or Internet connections which can be used for research and homework help.

Even with classwork out of the picture, cell phones can still be useful. Imagine yourself in a classroom during a life threatening situation. What to do? Not to worry because all the students who have a cell phone have emergency contacts and the ability to make emergency calls in case something were to go wrong.

Even with these great uses, teachers argue that the negative stands out more than the positive. Chemistry and AP Biology teacher Michael Williams says that “Technology has come to the point where it’s more of a distraction than a help.” Williams says, “As we know, you can’t do two things at once… I don’t know how many times I’ve looked up to find three or four students on their phones when they shouldn’t be. They don’t look engaged in what’s going on in the classroom at all.”

Students who are on their phones are more focused on what website or app they are on than paying attention to the lesson being taught. Most teachers don’t mind students bringing their phones to school, they just don’t want them being used during instructional time.

According to Vice Principal of Discipline Monica Barberi, the district policy states that teachers can confiscate phones if they are being used without teacher permission. District policy states that phones and other technology can be used as long as the teacher has given consent. Without consent from a teacher or administrator, phones must be turned off and put away, not just muted.

Typically, teachers will give a one or two warnings before completely confiscating a phone. Barberi says “ [If phone use during class continues] teachers will move to take your phone. Some teachers will hold it and keep it until the end of class and then give it back to you. If it comes to my office, then its been something that has been more severe.”

If it is the first time a student’s phone is confiscated and taken to the Discipline Office it will be held until the end of the day and parents/guardians will be notified. If a phone is taken to the Discipline Office more than once parents/guardians will be notified and they will be required to pick up the confiscated phone.