MCPS implements new county-wide cell phone policy
October 7, 2019
As the new school year begins, MCPS has been debating the frequency of student cell phone use on school grounds. Many seek to have a more stricter cell phone policy, consisting of completely banning cell phones during the school day.
Currently, the MCPS policy dictates that cell phones should not be turned on during instructional hours, unless a teacher permits it.
Groups like the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations believe that this policy has not been enforced properly throughout the county, and that more resources must be invested in making sure students exhibit proper cell phone usage and restraint.
In the neighboring Fairfax County, a total ban on cellphones during the school day has already been instituted. Students are not permitted to use their cell phones during the school day at all and if they violate this ban, they run the risk of having their phone taken away.
Fairfax County’s new policy has been a model to some, with the chair of the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations’ Safe Technology Committee even meeting with school officials to discuss the possibility of instituting a similar policy.
However, others believe the current MCPS policy is sufficient. “I think that when they [MCPS] try to pursue something such as a stricter cell phone policy, all it ends up doing is wasting manpower and time into enforcing the actual policy,” junior Michael Sun said. “In reality, you can be focusing more resources on something that would be more pertinent to the actual process of learning.”
Some teachers agree. “I personally don’t think that we need a stricter cell phone policy. I think it should be teacher discretion,” math teacher Staci Gallun said.
Although both sides of the cell phone debate are keen to push their argument, in an interview with WTOP, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith believed a compromise would be the best solution. “What we have to do is find the appropriate, effective middle ground, where there is a benefit to students and their learning, but not a distraction to the school and the classroom,” Smith said.