This school year the middle school has experienced many changes to our school lives including a new principal, flex period, new sports requirements and possibly the most talked about change- the new cell phone policy.
Previously the cell phone policy in the middle school was phones must be off and away during school hours, which are 8:10-3:10. We sat down and talked to the new principal, Sean Hamer, about this change. The new policy, according to Mr. Hamer, is “when you come into the building, usually around 8:00, then now it’s 8:00 so you can’t use it in the building as opposed to the old policy where you could use it up until 8:10 in the building.” The change is that no phones are to be used the the Sharpless without a teacher’s permission.
But with this change there has been some controversy as to why this expansion has been made. When asked about the some of the reasons behind the change Sean explained his views; “the policy of using it in the building until 8:10 was unenforceable… So there’s a lot of excuses that folk’s had. And then you also had folks who were using them inappropriately for content that’s not really appropriate to be used or watched in school. And so they would be in the basement or the third floor their phones. So therefore it’s much simpler and clearer for everyone to just say once you walk in the building the phone should be off and away.” Along with the Sharpless Building policy, there have been changes to the policy at the Middle School Dances The rule there was that you could not use your phone inside the gym. Which is a similarly location based policy like the school day limits. And this was simply so that no pictures were posted or shared that could be embarrassing for some people so that the dance felt like a safe environment.
Lots of students have voiced their opinion by saying that we should be able to use our phones in the non academic time before 8:10. Sean has responded to that by saying that “We’re at Germantown Friends for school. Not for social media. We’re not at Germantown Friends for chatting or for calling our friends.” Although there is a difference in maturity levels and a difference in dependency and usage for our phones, many feel that this policy is a good fit for the community.