Around New England

Dartmouth High School Cracking Down On Cell Phones

August 3, 2022

Students at Dartmouth High School will have to drop their cell phones in a designated area before each class or else face after-school punishment this coming school year.

Principal Ryan Shea said cell phones are distracting and also lead to cheating.

“What we’re going to do is in every classroom we’re going to create a ‘cell hotel.’  If you think of like shoe racks behind the closet door, they’re a little classier than that, I would say, but that’s the idea of it. They’re numbered in the classroom.  Students check in, they drop their phone in it,” Shea said during the Dartmouth School Committee meeting on Monday, July 25.

All electronic technology will have to go in the “cell hotel,” he said.

“We’re including EarPods as well. One of the things that we’ve noticed this year is that’s a form of cheating as well, because you can put the EarPod in and you can text the answer to your friend and you can get the Siri reading the answer to you in your ear,” Shea said.

First offense is the teacher takes the cell phone and the student has a five-minute session after school to discuss the incident. Second offense is 30 minutes after school with a teacher, possibly on a Tuesday or Thursday because late buses run those days. Third offense is 60 minutes after school with the assistant principal. Fourth offense requires a meeting with the assistant principal and a parent.

Exceptions will be made for classes where the teacher wants students to take photos as part of an assignment.

Shea cited a May 2018 Pew Research poll that showed that 95 percent of teen-agers have access to a smart cell phone and a poll that found that 52 percent want to cut back on their cell phone use.

He described a student who seemed worried when asked to give up his cell phone for an hour.

“We see the addiction constantly,” Shea said.

He also linked the constant presence of cell phones with depression.

“When I was in high school, if I was in class and I tripped and I fell, everyone laughs, I get a round of applause, and I kind of go home at the end of the day and it’s gone. Now it’s recorded, it’s shared, it’s memed — it doesn’t end. And that’s why you see, like, depression rates up across the board. Because you cannot escape it. You used to be able to go home and that was your safe place. And now you can’t escape it. I believe the school should be a safe place. And that’s one of the ways we’re going to make it a safe place, is we’re going to take that out of – that control back,” Shea said. first reported the school’s new cell phone policy on Monday, August 1.

Dartmouth High School is a public school that has about 1,000 students in grades 9 through 12. It serves the town of Dartmouth, which has about 34,000 people, on the South Coast of Massachusetts.


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