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The Hoofbeat

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New year new policy

Students have been banned from using their devices inside all classrooms
New+year+new+policy
Anika Gankhuu

The recently decided cell phone policy receives mixed feedback from students, teachers and even parents. Kurt Browning, Pasco county superintendent of schools, recently addressed the policy in a Youtube video on a channel created by Pasco county schools, summarizing the new changes that revolve around safety, mental health, and loss of instructional time.

“In grades 9 through 12, students must put their devices on silent mode and out of view for the entire school day – except during lunch period, in between class periods, or during a time authorized by the classroom teacher for a specific instructional activity,” Browning said.

The policy was enforced as soon as the ‘23-‘24 school year started, and has continued to be in effect so far. No signs suggest the policy’s removal, inspiring Ethan Nguyen (‘27) to start a petition on June 21, trying to get signatures opposing the policy on change.org.

“I think [the petition] should have an effect because of the amount of signatures, as well as some of the teachers and parents in the comments that agree. They want us to be able to use our cell phones occasionally for academic reasons. I want people to know the benefits of cell phones. This is a new generation I understand, but we need to adapt to it,” Nguyen said.

The petition has gained nearly 45,000 signatures in two months and is still growing today.

Chloe Mathis (‘25) adjusts to the policy since listening to music during class is no longer an option for her and many other students.

“I think [the policy] is mostly a good thing because it gives the students that don’t pay attention a lot in class the opportunity to have that privilege taken away from having your phone, that way you are kind of forced to pay attention. I don’t like it because I think that it was a privilege to be able to use your phone after you’re done doing your work. The one thing that I definitely noticed was that there’s less interruptions from my teacher and other students like before. Last year, our teachers would have to constantly tell kids in my class ‘Hey, put away your phone. I’m trying to talk.’ I don’t see any more of that obviously, because of the policy.” Mathis said.

A teacher at the school who teaches AP lang composition, Ms. Blankenship is just one of the instructors who have been directed to own numbered cell phone holders in their classrooms for student devices during class periods

“I don’t know if [the policy] necessarily prepares us for the real world where cell phones will be everywhere in that regard, but at the same time, we need to teach our students how to be responsible with them. I think there needs to be more explanation of the why and the how for the students so that way, they actually do learn rather than just obey,” said Blankenship.

The aftermath of this decision has led district employees to come into the school to ensure the policy is being enforced. As of right now, there has been no new news of the policy being changed.

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