Phones, bells, and lunch with a dean

Phones, bells, and lunch with a dean

With every new school year there are all kinds of new things: new classes, new teachers, new friendships, and of course, changes to the student handbook.

Upon our arrival to school on September 2, each grade had their own “Welcome Back Assembly.” Principal John Gould introduced us to the new Associate Principal Rachel Chavier and also told us about some of the new rules that administration was going to enforce this year.

One of the first rules was that cell phone usage was going to be much stricter this year. Students are no longer allowed to use their phones in the hallways or even just have them out in class. Phones are only allowed in the cafeteria or the library. If an administration member or teacher sees your phone out otherwise, you will be asked to put it away.

“Your generation is really lucky to live in a time when technology allows us to be so updated,” said Dean Mike Martin, “but when kids are on their phones in the halls, I’ve seen so many situations where students have literally bumped into another kid because they weren’t paying attention.”

The faculty doesn’t necessarily dislike the idea that kids are using their phones. Most of them respect that half of the time we are on our phones we are checking our school e-mails or Aspen. However, they do want to enforce a strong learning environment.

“It is not appropriate to ask to leave class just so you can be on your phone,” said Mr. Martin. “It becomes an issue when students ask to go to the bathroom just so they can wander the halls being on their phones. Ultimately, we want to enforce safe study habits.”

The rules haven’t really changed entirely from last year, they are just going to be enforced much more this year.

Some think these cell phone changes aren’t necessarily that bad. “I like the changes,” said sophomore Mike Cabral. “I think people need to get off their phones.”

The question is if they really are going to be enforced like we are told they are going to be.

“I don’t think they’re going to be enforced,” said senior Sabrina Azinheira. “They’re already not being enforced.”

Another rule change is that students can no longer be dismissed by phone. If a student is to be dismissed, it needs to be either by note or fax from a parent or guardian. This idea was actually introduced by Mr. Gould. He did not like that students could be so easily dismissed with just a phone call.

“We need accountability in writing,” said Mr. Martin. He continued to say that the administration is in charge of us from 7:30 until 2:03, and they need to know where we are at all times for our own safety.

“People were taking advantage of it,” said Hall Monitor Paul Humason. “If students find a loophole and take advantage of it, the system needs to be changed.”

There are still going to be discrepancies with students forging notes, as they’ve done that forever. The most important thing is that the administration has a physical document stating that a student is allowed to be dismissed so that parents and guardians are aware.

Probably one of the more unique policies is the lunch detention. A lunch detention is when you have to eat your lunch with a dean in the guidance conference room rather than with your friends in the cafeteria. Students receive a lunch detention when they have more than seven tardies per semester.

Last year, the punishment for seven tardies was an after session. When many students would just skip these after sessions, this would result in their getting a Saturday school. If they skipped the Saturday school, they would end up with In-School Suspension for insubordination because they refused to go to all of their prior after school punishments.

“It’s difficult to have a consequence beyond the school day,” said Mr. Martin. The lunch detentions provide an in-school punishment that doesn’t impact class time and isn’t nearly as inconvenient as an after session or Saturday school.

“For a punishment, it’s really not that bad,” said junior Colby Lima. “It’s a somewhat relaxed punishment compared to last year.”

One of the most annoying changes this year was the tone of the bells. Practically everyone, students and teachers alike, dislike them.

“They’re dumb,” said senior Ethan Shields. “They sound bad, and you can hardly hear them in the gym or cafeteria.” You have to listen for the bell which makes us wonder whether or not the bell has actually rung or if we’re just hearing things.

“It sounds like a hearing test!” said Mr. Hummason.

Many people agree that the first time they heard the bell, they thought their ears were ringing.

“We recognize that everyone hates them,” said Mr. Martin. The reason that the bells had to change is because they are hooked up to the intercom through the phone system. When they got the new phones, they only came with five bell tones. According to Secretary Donna Flor, the bell that we hear is the least annoying of all five bells.

Mr. Martin said that they have contacted the company and are working on changing the bells to a more tolerable tone. Unfortunately, for now we will have to deal with the bells as they are now.