Huntsville City Schools Dress Code Change and Cell Phone Ban


Sarah Roach, Writer

Are electronics too distracting during class? The Huntsville City School board seems to agree. Huntsville City Schools issued a new policy on electronic devices and a minor update to the dress code. Were they too hasty with these new policies? 

The new policy requires that all electronic devices be shut completely off and put away in backpacks and lockers during school hours. This includes phones, smart watches, and even earbuds. WAFF News reported that the concerns of parents and school staff that brought on this new policy was the lack of focus students had during class and cheating. A report WAAY news did showed how some parents felt about this new phone rule. Their worries centered around being able to contact their child in an emergency. Cell phones are bought for one major reason, to have a way to contact people, especially in an emergency. If the students phone is shut off completely all day, that defeats the purpose of having them. 

 The vast majority of Bob Jones students find cell phones to be more helpful in class than distracting. How would the students feel without them? Lily Wingenter, a senior at Bob Jones High Schoo,l said, “I wouldn’t like it because I’d feel pretty lost when I’d need an answer to something I don’t know. I would also feel anxious knowing that I won’t be able to text my friends during times where school work is complete, free time.” At Bob Jones High School, some classes rely on the usage of electronic devices of all kinds to aid in class work. Mrs. Panagos, a teacher at Bob Jones, said, “In my class, students use their phones to record interviews and podcasts, take photos, record video, research social media, and use apps as they apply to specific class assignments.” Phones prove to be pretty useful in her class, taking them away would only hinder the teaching. Like, we just don’t have enough cameras for all my students as it is, so we have to rely on the technology that they have in hand.” 

Most teachers have their own way of dealing with cell phone discipline. Some use phone charts or just take up the phone until the end of class, methods that have worked well for most teachers. Mrs. Panagos said, “Personally, I don’t mind students glancing at their phones on occasion as long as they’re on track with their assignments. Occasionally, I’ll have a student who doesn’t have enough self-control, and I’ll have to ask them to put it away. It’s not as often as one might think as long as I have an engaging lesson.”

Overall, phones can be useful in class. They allow students to conduct research, take photos for projects, access Google Classroom to see or submit assignments, use voice-to-text if needed, and even use Kahoot or Quizlet live as a studying method. Taking away phones entirely during the school day would be taking away a useful tool for education. Besides, learning self-control at an early age can help students later in life. If nothing else, perhaps trying positive reinforcement for exercising self-control with an app called Pocket Points. A teacher can set up a Pocket Points account for the class, and students earn small rewards for keeping their phones put away. 

A minor change to Huntsville City School dress code policies was also made. Shorts must now cover the mid thigh and wearing extremely oversized clothes was banned. The current length for shorts at Bob Jones is just above the knee, and most students seem to think that’s just right. 

Sometimes neighboring school systems’ policies can affect our MCS policies, and though it’s always helpful to consider and discuss what other systems are doing, Madison City should continue to be the leader in best practices and trusting individual teachers to implement behavior strategies for their own classrooms.