The Student News Site of Cathedral High School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Irish Connection

The Student News Site of Cathedral High School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Irish Connection

The Student News Site of Cathedral High School | Indianapolis, Indiana

Irish Connection

Face Off Friday: Cell Phone Policy

The newest policy has drawn some resentment from the student body. In a Face-Off first, two students team up to take on a Cathedral educator.

Mr. Nick Jamell – No Place Like Phone Jail

Phone jail – an evocative and inflammatory name for a mundane and just use of power by teachers – has invaded the zeitgeist here on the hill. As students enter classrooms, great wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues as students part ways with their phones for nearly an hour. Amid the outcries from students (which are now audible only within earshot since they can’t tweet about it) one must wonder if so-called “phone jail” should remain as common practice at Cathedral.

If we are to argue this point, we must first establish several things: the purpose of schools, the powers and responsibilities of educators, whether or not “phone jail” serves the purpose of schools, and if “phone jail” is a legitimate use of power by educators. 

Before we can argue whether classroom rules are good or bad, we must establish the purpose of a classroom. Students go to class to be educated. Education comes from the Latin educare, which means “to encourage the growth and development of” or “bring up.” The classroom is a place where teachers are to educate students to be upstanding citizens, inculcating in students the knowledge, understanding, and habits that produce a happy, healthy, reasonable citizen.

Everything in a classroom ought to serve the purpose of educating students. The activities, tools, and decorations – even furniture – should help students learn. Phones, my opponents will likely argue, are a tool that can be used productively and properly toward this end. The evidence on this is scant. A tool is an object used to increase or extend the capacity of human capabilities. Rarely, if ever, is a phone used in a classroom as a proper extension of our faculties ordered toward learning. Phones are most often used for useless distractions and inanities that leave the user more distractible, aloof, and less capable of resisting the temptation in the future. That’s because smartphones are designed to prey upon vulnerabilities of the human mind, especially the developing minds of teenagers, and so there is no moderation except to rid the classroom of these devices. 

Four score years ago, C.S. Lewis identified a still-relevant problem in his work Abolition of Man stating, “…what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.” In the case of smartphones, it is usually the “user” who is being used by the smartphone and Silicon Valley oligarchs as a commodity, which I guess makes the user a tool. And no one wants to be a tool.

Education is one of the primary duties of parents. Teachers in the classroom are acting as agents on behalf of the parents to educate the children to be good citizens, which in a Catholic school includes citizenship in this world as well as the next. We are responsible for the education of the students in our class, which means we are responsible for cutting out distractions that detract from learning. Parents have placed their children in teachers’ care to educate, discipline, and guide them, tasking us with that responsibility and endowing us with the necessary powers to work toward that end. Because this power has been entrusted to us, we are well within our rights to take phones, even preemptively, to maintain the order of the classroom. Just as our government protects our society by justly jailing violent offenders, terrorists, rebels, and others who disrupt the social order, we should jail the phones that distract and disrupt the order of the classroom.

Based on all this we see that the following is true: the purpose of the classroom is educating students; teachers have been chosen as agents of the parents in service of this goal; taking phones is a legitimate power that is ordered toward the flourishing of the classroom. This is why we can, and should – dare I say must – take phones at the beginning of class. 

 

“Mr. Jamell loves the phone policy. If he could, I think he’d marry it.”

–Celia Miles, ‘24

Celia Miles and Caroline Drew – Let Our iPhones Go

Cathedral high school claims to be a college preparatory school, but when the seniors are in college next year will they be entering their enormous seminars and putting their phones into a sleeve hanging on the door? After speaking with some peers it is evident how a large majority of students feel about the new phone policy. 

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Cell Phone Policy

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There is a time and a place for everything. I think that is the key to making this new policy tolerable for everyone. Phones typically do not belong in math class. Although, resource is our one mental break a day. The only time besides lunch that our gears aren’t constantly spinning. By our fourth year at Cathedral, most students understand what works best for them. That might mean that some students use resource as a break to shut their brain off, listen to music on their phones, and save their homework for later. As students progress through their four years at Cathedral, the privileges and trust should mature as the students are.

Phones are much more than just a distraction. Phones are a safety precaution as well as our main form of communication. Senior class president William Neale added, “I really think it’s a safety issue being able to know what is going on and keeping us connected.” Our phones carry thousands of resources to help us succeed during school. Our schedules, schoology, emails, etc. 

Just as most teachers have mentioned “you can do everything on your iPads that you can on your phones.” All the phone policy is really doing is teaching students how to sneak around the rules and login to everything they have on their phones but now onto their iPads

With seniors going to college in less than a year, taking away phone privileges restricts them from learning to coexist with their phones in a professional environment.

Senior AbbieGrace weighed in her opinion by saying, “students should be allowed to have phones because high school is supposed to prepare you for college and if students never learn when and where to use phones by the time they get to college they will not have the right tools to focus on their schoolwork.”

Allowing students to have their phones helps them learn when appropriate times are to use them. This would help get them ready for further education and future jobs as phone necessity will not decline anytime soon. 

We think it is important that upperclassmen are given the privilege of having phones. Whether that means seniors can have their phones in just Resource or all electives. Every student and senior is aware that being on their phones can run the risk for you to fail classes and get behind. Being in high school you are preparing for college and are in charge of your own education. I’m not saying there should be no consequences or rules in place,for example only taking them away when seen or making the whole class put them up if one person is on it when the privilege is taken advantage of. 

With every topic there are always positives, and the pros of phones include students having their phones in case there’s a change of plans after school, or even just needing to talk to someone not in their class for things like, reminders, rides, and emergencies.

Giving students, especially seniors the privilege to use their phones at appropriate times will help them learn responsibility and how to prepare themselves for college. And allowing them the privilege will help them learn first hand either the benefits or consequences.

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About the Contributors
Celia Miles, Photographer and Reporter
Celia Miles is in the class of 2024. She has been on the cathedral staff for 2 years. She enjoys golfing and playing tennis. She loves to travel and her favorite vacation has been Colorado to ski. She also enjoys listening to music and her favorite artist is zach Bryan and drake.
Caroline Drew, Reporter
Caroline Drew is a senior and reporter for the Irish connection and the Megaphone. She enjoys playing tennis, going on walks, and hanging out with friends. She is a triplet with one sister at Cathedral and a brother at Brebeuf.

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