Central’s New Bathroom and Cell Phone Policies

 Changes have been made this year based off of the end of year survey students took concerning how they feel at school.

Changes have been made this year based off of the end of year survey students took concerning how they feel at school.

With the start of our “normal school year”, school administration instantly imposed strict rules on cell phone usage. The school administration has actively tried to be stricter with cell phone usage in the past, though their efforts have never been effective. For example, last year, they suggested that students should not use their phones in class, however the extent to which teachers enforced this was nowhere near what it is currently.

Another new change to this school year is the school’s updated bathroom policies, consisting of kids needing to use bathroom passes in addition to their IDs, whereas last year, kids would only need to use a school ID to go to the bathroom. On top of the bathroom passes, they are all color-coded, restricting which bathroom a student can use. Moreover, the school administration says that they will check students for smartphones when using the bathroom.

Where did this all start? On August 23rd at 3:48 PM when Mr. Brandt sent out an email with a welcome message to students. At the very bottom of the email, an updated cell phone policy was mentioned, stating that the only time students were allowed to use cell phones was before homeroom, during passing time, between classes, during lunch, and after dismissal. He suggested that if parents wanted to contact their children, they should call the house office in which a staff member would contact the student. Lastly, it stated that students were not allowed to have their cell phones out in the hallways during class time or in the locker rooms, or in the bathrooms.

How does this affect student life? Who does it inconvenience? Is there any benefit to the new policies?

Let’s start with student life. Many students like to listen to music while doing work in class. With the new cell phone policies this becomes a much more tedious task. Some teachers do not allow cell phone usage or music listening at all. Other teachers allow music however they tell students they have to simply play songs and then put their phone away. What does this mean for students? The answer is uncertain. Some studies show that music can increase productivity by up to a margin of 7.4%, while others show that in college students they perform “worse on cognitive tasks while listening to music.”


On the music side of the spectrum, this can prove to be a benefit and a hindrance to students, but it depends on the individual. Diving deeper into the research however, studies show that due to cell phone usage, students are more likely to be distracted and less likely to stay on task during school. In the same research report, students self-report that they feel more anxious when they do not have their cell phones. This anxiety increase does not only exist in high school students, but it exists in adults as well. Observation was conducted on a reporter from “60 minutes”, Anderson Cooper, where his heart rate was steady, however the moment he received a phone notification his heart rate responded by elevating.

To conclude, once again, research shows conflicting arguments. One side shows that increased cell phone usage hinders a student’s ability to focus, while the other shows that taking away a student’s cell phone will increase a student’s anxiety.

Now on to bathroom policies. The new bathroom policies require students to bring a pass and their ID with them to use a bathroom. Who does this affect? While this does affect the students, it also has an impact on teachers. In some situations, if the student somehow loses the pass, then their teacher is stuck with only one pass. This has already occurred in our school. This is also a major inconvenience to students as it takes more time for the same number of people to use the bathroom if the classroom had two passes. About two weeks into the new school year, another bathroom policy was imposed, stating that students are not allowed to use the bathroom until 11:30, which is fifteen minutes after unit lunch. This can prove to be inconveniencing because many students drink water during lunch.

With all these new policies how are they being enforced? In the welcome students letter that Mr. Brandt sent in August, the methods of enforcing these new rules were not stated, leaving it to the discretion of the teachers. It should also be noted that these new cell phone policies are a response to a greater statewide mandate that schools enforce stricter cell phone usage policies, as part of an educational initiative to reduce student cell phone usage in the classroom. Overall, the school is imposing new rules and while there are good intentions, whether this is the best course of action, is still being determined.



Rosen, L. D. (2017). The distracted student mind – enhancing its focus and attention. The Phi Delta Kappan, 99(2), 8–14. http://www.jstor.org/stable/26388265