Put it in the pocket!

Students adjust to new cell phone routine


Zach Krajicek

Seniors Jude Elgert and Drake Trent put their phones in the pocket before College English. Students are slowly getting used to the routine of putting their phones in the pockets before class.

Changes come to the classrooms at Yutan High School every year. It might be a new teacher, additions to the class syllabus or even a simple rearrangement to the desks. But this year, all classrooms have something new: a phone pocket holder on the wall.

For the last two years, the expectation was that students keep their phones hidden in class. If they were caught using their cellular device, it would be confiscated. 

But this year, slight new changes were made by high school principal Brandy Thompson. Students walk into the classroom, and before class starts, students must place their phones into a numbered pocket on the wall.  This change, Thompson said, is an easier way to get consistency within the classrooms.

“By giving each teacher a phone pocket, it gives the teacher an opportunity to be able to say phones are where they’re supposed to be, just to help create consistency,” said Thompson.

Thompson has had a phone policy for the school ever since she arrived two years ago. She cited the main rationale for the policy as cyberbullying.

“There’s a lot of conversations that happen with administrators, and I think that sometimes as kids and sometimes even as staff we don’t see how quick cyberbullying can happen,” Thompson said.

When talking to her peers from around the state, Thompson heard that the same cyberbullying situations creep up at other schools as well.

“It’s such a distraction in such a major way, and not all kids experience it, but enough kids experience it that how do we say we keep all kids safe if we’re not trying to do something that does help keep all kids safe,” Thompson said.

She also realized that her previous policies regarding phones had led students to find mischievous ways to be on their phones. Students admitted to checking it at every possible time they could.

“What bothered me about that is not that they had their phone. What bothered me is what we were teaching them is instead of being responsible, we were teaching them how to be sneaky,” said Thompson.

Students have had mixed reactions to the new phone pockets. Senior Will Peterson thinks that the pockets aren’t affecting students all that much.

“It’s not that big of a deal because you’re not allowed to have them out anyways,” Peterson said.

Peterson also sees some abuse of phones in the classroom, even with the policies against them.

“[Some students] can’t get off Snapchat and TikTok for forty-five minutes, which is very sad,” Peterson said. “Outside of that, it’s not too bad. Most people are just sending a quick text.”

Other students, such as senior Trevin Arlt, have a different opinion on what the classroom phone policy should be.

“Kids can have their phones in their pocket, and if it’s out, [the] teacher gets to take it for however long they want,” Arlt said. 

Students such as Arlt may be reluctant to accept the new rules, but overall, Thompson thinks the phone pockets will be a positive change for the future, and trying to create a safe learning space at school is a must.

“Everybody has a right to a free education,” Thompson said. “We want to give you a free education as interruption free as possible.”