Phone Policy 2.0: Student Opinions (SATIRE)

Katie Adams, Journalist

Essex High School, a local high school located in Essex Junction, Vermont, is seeing a strange shift in student opinions over electronic policies. In the 2019-2020 school year, a harsh cell phone policy was implemented in an effort to get students to focus on academics rather than mobile devices. The ban even limited school-issued chromebooks during advisory and flex times, attempting to get students to pay attention to the slide presentations created by school administration that focus on mental health, inspiration, school improvement and current school issues or concerns. Many students became upset and even enraged with the strict repercussions of the policy, with one offense resulting in an immediate referral to the principal’s office, two offenses leading to a call home, and three offences resulting in a potential in-school suspension. Offences occur when a teacher or administrator hears a student’s phone beep from their backpack, sees a student on a mobile device or chromebook during advisory/flex, or sees a student using their cell phone at any time during the school day. Many students feel that this phone policy is too harsh and unethical because it takes away student’s rights to their own private property and has little regard for the fact that many of the students are young adults.

Students had much to say about the old policy with some even saying, “I HATE IT WITH A PASSION.”, “It has ruined my life.”, “no ”, and “bruh”. Others had less abrasive things to say, but still disagreed with the policy saying, “It’s extremely irrelevant, considering all the issues EHS faces, and it’s overly strict. I think that it is reasonable for a teacher to ask a student to put away a device during class, but what’s the issue with using it during study halls and advisory?” Someone else said, “It feels possessive. This is my personal property, why is there such strict control over my own items?”, and “I do not like it. I go to school for 7 hours, play on a varsity sports team for two and a half hours afterwards, and end up getting barely any sleep because I’m up so late doing homework every night. Why does the admin get so upset when I’m trying to get my homework done on my chromebook during an advisory instead of watching their presentations about things like irrelevant ‘inspirational’ speeches and the dreaded ‘unity circles’ ? If they want to help our mental health they should respect that most of us need to maximize our time to complete the homework that we spend upwards of 6 hours on each night, and let us use our chromebooks during advisory.” 

On the other hand, a proponent of the phone policy, a student that frequently refers to his cell phone as a ‘trap phone’ 1 due to its lack of cellular connection and who often brags about his minimal use of his phone said, “I think kids should cope.” He was later berated by a mob of angry students calling him a “traitor to the student body” and “just salty 2 because he doesn’t get data on his phone”. 

The previous student opinions from years past are leaving administrators puzzled as to the reason that many students have had a change of heart towards the phone policy. Administration is planning to renew the old phone policy at the beginning of second semester and students have surprisingly positive opinions about the policy this time around. When one student was asked about his thoughts on the phone policy he said smiling, “Look, when I was a freshman when the first phone policies were implemented, I was ignorant of the positive effects that the phone policy could have on the student body. The administration’s slide presentations have really opened my eyes to the fact that my social and personal life really aren’t that important. Now, one of my favorite pastimes is staring blankly at the wall in the library waiting for the block 3/4 bell to ring!” Another student wrote in to an anonymous poll sent out in a Google form, “Admin’s choice to supplement the phone ban with school issued chromebooks really helped me to improve my coding skills. Now instead of learning basic Javascript in my computer programming class, I pretend to be paying attention while I’m actually learning complicated codes to hack all of the restricted sites on the school chromebooks. I’ve actually started a little business out of the back of the library where I hack into Cool Math Games 3 on other student’s computers for like 10 bucks a pop. I’ve improved my coding skills so much that I’ve gotten a scholarship to MIT! I also might even get enough outside class credit to skip the required business course!” Another student put it this way, “I’m really excited for my education to be improved as a result of me not listening to music in the hallways!” and “The school’s painfully slow WiFi has helped me to develop more patience. Instead of just using the personal hotspot on my phone to get a better connection, I have to wait 10 minutes for my Google Doc to load for an assignment that I don’t even want to do. I’ve noticed a big improvement with my ability to be patient!”

The student body’s change in opinion has left administration confused, but content. One administrator even put it, “We thought that we would see many referrals to the office with the new phone policy. Fortunately, students have been strangely complacent with many basically throwing them in the trash! Must be those advisory slides!” 


1 A trap phone is described by Urban Dictionary as “A phone that is cheap and doesn’t work right.” Also, 

a phone that “…cannot call or text because it is out of service. You can pretty much only use it when there is wifi.” 

2 Salty /ˈsôltē/ (Adjective) Angry or resentful, especially in response to a defeat or disappointment.

3 Urban Dictionary describes Cool Math Games as “The site that kids play at school nowadays to avoid 

work.” and “The best website in the world and houses some of the most lit games while you are at school”. 

Works Cited: 

Some quotes from: 

Essex High School Yearbook. “In Focus 2020” Essex High School Yearbook, 2020.