Anchorage high school implements cell phone free policy

Published: Oct. 3, 2019 at 6:55 PM AKDT
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Lumen Christi High School in Anchorage started the school year off with a 100 percent cell phone free policy.

After teachers and staff members have observed for years students distracted by pings and buzzes from their cells and they decided they needed to make a change.

“A cell phone really is an addiction and they couldn’t go without constantly being glued to the cell phone screen,” said Dr. Antje Carlson, Lumen Christi’s English Department Chair. “

Carlson began asking students to turn in their cellphones at the beginning of class. Eventually, the school took on the policy throughout its campus and the policy has been active for about six weeks.

“I was bummed at first, I think all of us were,” said Caleb Furneri, a junior at Lumen Christi. “We’re really used to our cell phones. We learned how to adapt to it. It’s kind of nice because when we aren’t on our cell phone. We can interact more, especially between classes.”

“At first, I didn’t like it,” said Joshua Van Tuyl, another student at the private, catholic school. “I’ve seen a positive effect on our school. People are socializing more, we’re actually focusing on school instead of checking our phones all the time.”

Students turn in their cellphones during homeroom. They put their phones in a labeled shoe organizer where it remains for the day.

“One thing I noticed, as a parent and school administrator, is that kids are much more engaged with one another but they are also engaged with other staff,” said Anne Gore, who is the mother of two students at the school as well as an administrative assistant.

According to Carlson, the school has had no issue with stolen or misplaced phones. In an emergency, the school said there are options for parents to get a hold of their children by calling the front desk.

Lumen Christi High School’s population is small, with about 70 students. Gore said its’ small size has made the implementation of the new policy very effective.

However, staff members say this policy has the potential for a bigger school

“If it works on this small of a scale, I think I can only imagine the positive effects of the cellphone policy on a larger scale,” Carlson said.

“Just in the last month and a half, we’ve had very, very positive results with the level of interaction students have, the level of engagement students have,” Principal Brian Ross said. I think teachers are very appreciative of that.”

According to the Anchorage School District, they currently do not have a school or district-wide policy requiring students to turn in their cellphones.

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