Cell phone policy changing for Oregon High School students

OREGON — Oregon High School students will have to turn over their cell phones at the start of each class period under a revised cell phone policy introduced Monday to school board members.

OHS Principal Heidi Deininger said the school was adopting an “out of sight” policy for cell phones.

“We want to eliminate cell phones as a distraction,” said Deininger. “The policy is going to be that all cell phones are out of sight and will be put in a cell phone locker at the start of the class.”

She said cell phones are a “huge distractor” for students in grades 9-12.

“You are not learning if you are thinking about what’s on your cell phone,” she said noting that the new policy could be a “culture shock” for some students.

“I think ‘withdrawal’ is what you’ll be seeing,” noted superintendent Tom Mahoney.

School board member Molly Baker agreed with the new policy. “Kids can’t multi-task as well as they like to think they can. All kinds of studies have shown that it is a distraction,” she said.

Deininger said the school district purchased cell phone safes for each of the school’s 50 classrooms. She said the safes cost around $140 each.

“Teachers are on board with so we want the kids to be on board too,” she said hoping the policy will allow for an increase in ‘human interaction’ during the 45-minute class periods. “I really think it [cell phone distractions] are having an adverse effect on learning.”

After the meeting, Deininger said some teachers ask students not to use phones during class periods, but the use of the cell phone safes will standardize the school’s approach for each classroom.

She said in the event of an incident, the phones could be taken out of the safe. “God forbid if something did happen the could go to the locker and get it out,” she said.

Deininger said parents would be notified of the new policy this week.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.