Phones: Free or Pouched?

Sejal Butala, Contributing Writer

In the technological era, the allure of cell phones has never been stronger. From scrolling on Instagram to the endless TikTok feeds, Gen-Z loves their devices. However, this attraction kindled a new kind of problem within schools: students are unable to focus. For this, Morris Hills invested in phone pouches for every single classroom, all in the interest of creating a better school environment. Still, many teachers are passing up on this opportunity for various reasons. However, others jumped at the chance and implemented them immediately in their classes. This back-and-forth created a topic of discussion of whether Morris Hills thinks phones deserve to be free or pouched.

An Argument for Free:

Many teachers allow their students to determine whether the pouches are necessary or not. They request that students behave, and in turn, they can keep their phones. However, if not, then the pouches will need to be applied. As Mr. Ellis puts it, “Students are almost adults, and you don’t see these at work, do you?” Many other teachers abide by a similar philosophy, giving control to the students.

Students actively enjoy this sense of freedom and control in these settings. Sophomore Oleg Kokarev believes, “Having my phone on me demonstrates trust within me as a student.” Teachers choosing to trust their classes to be responsible only enhances the student drive to uphold their end of the bargain.

Furthermore, phones in this age are imperative for emergencies, where having contact with others such as family or 911 is vital. As sophomore Kush Mody states, “It’s just safety! If there was a fire and my phone was just sitting in the phone pouch, then how could I talk to my parents about the situation?” Phones serve the same purpose they did years ago — to aid communication — and freeing phones is a measure to allow them to serve this purpose under extreme circumstances.

An Argument for the Pouches:

On the flip side, many teachers found students could not effectively participate in class, their phones being a distraction in activities. 

Mr. Harkins described his classroom atmosphere as “disruptive for me as a teacher.” He also went on to justify his rationale for applying the phone pouches in all of his classes. “Last year, many students would scroll on their phones in the middle of class, and now, I am seeing a drastic shift to focusing and caring about learning.” The phone-free environment restricts students’ means to escape the classroom, helping them focus on their work, the teacher, and overall learning.

A study conducted by the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research (JACR) aids this argument by proposing that “the mere presence of a cell phone, even when it is silenced and stored out of sight, might be undermining [the] ability to focus.” This hindrance is why cell phone pockets may prove effective at allowing students to concentrate.

Many schools around the United States follow this ideology, such as the Philadelphia School District, which will allegedly pay “$5 million” to create the no-phone classrooms as of October 2022. It seems not only our school believes this philosophy is beneficial to education.  

Teachers have the decision to keep phones free or pouch them, and there is an argument for both sides. However, no matter which side teachers take, it is all to enhance the school environment and create an atmosphere fit for learning.