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Ken'Naiyah Chaney

NEW RULES: Administration has instituted a phone ban during school hours.

Ken'Naiyah Chaney, Staff Writer

The Inlet Grove staff announced a new school cellphone policy before the winter break, and began enforcing it upon the return to classes Jan. 5.

“The policy is that cellphones must remain concealed and not visible during school hours,” said school founder and Director of Curriculum Dr. Emma Banks.

“That’s in the classroom, in the hallways, and also before and after class,” said Director of Discipline Dr. Billy Gira. “That also includes during lunch.”

The policy was enacted because of an outburst in social media which includes TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms, Dr. Banks said. She added that some students are abusing the fact that phones were available and that it was a distraction from instruction and learning.

“Too many kids are taking pictures, recording other kids, posting them on Instagram, and saying negative things,” said Dr. Banks.

“That’s not the kind of school I founded,” she said. “I wanted integrity, I wanted respect,  I don’t want parents to think when they send their kids here they’re going to be bullied. I don’t like that.

“Our kids, they’re good, they comply. I have nothing negative to say about it. Sometimes you have to take a stand and let them know you mean what you say.”


Although the idea originally came from Dr. Banks, said Principal Tonja Latson, it was “a collective assessment and agreement with the administrative staff here at Inlet Grove.”

Graduation coach Howard Brown said there have been “very few incidents of students not adhering to the policy, very few which have been corrected.”

“I do think they comply most of the time,” said Mrs. Latson.” We only had to confiscate 10 phones and the parents were in agreement with it. They were returned to the parents and now those same students that did have the phone confiscated understand that this is a real situation.”


Inlet Grove is not the only school that has revised its cellphone policy. At Blankner K-8 School in Orlando, Fla., “A student may possess a cellphone on school property, at after-school activities, and at school related functions, provided that during school hours and on the bus, the cellphone remains off and is concealed,” states the school’s policy. “Violation of this policy may result in confiscation of the cellphone and/or other disciplinary actions.”

As at Inlet Grove, if a cellphone is confiscated at Blankner, the parents or guardian must make arrangements to pick up the phone from the school.  According to the Blankner guidelines, “At no time shall Orange County Public Schools be responsible for theft, loss or damage to the cellphones or other electronic devices brought onto its property.”

In Palm Beach County, Santaluces High School’s guidelines state that students’ electronic devices are permitted before school and after school. They also are allowed during lunch.

Worthington High School, also in Palm Beach County, allows personal communication and electronic devices before school, during lunch, after school, and between classes, but “Students are not allowed to use these devices for non-educational purposes during the time that class is in session,” states the school handbook. “Such items include, but are not limited to cellphones. It is the expectation of the school that students place their cellphones in a designated location within the classroom that has been determined by the classroom teacher.”

Similar to Inlet Grove policy, the Worthington handbook adds that “Teachers may allow students to access personal electronic devices for educational use during class time. If a teacher determines that a student is using electronic devices for non-educational purposes and has violated this policy, the teacher will collect the device and bring it to the office.”


“In my opinion the cellphone policy should be only implemented during instructional time,” said Gabriel Gerig, Inlet’s Senior Class president and a student in the Medical Academy. “During lunch time students should be allowed to use their cellphones,” he said.

“I think the phone policy at Inlet Grove is drastic and needs to be adjusted,” said Jonathan Eugene, a junior in the LPN program. “People getting their phone taken or threatened to be taken for just looking at the time or addressing something important makes no sense. I understand not using it during class time and in between classes, but the fact that we can’t use it during lunch throws me off. I think it’s important to be able to record high school moments without being scared a teacher or admin will take it away.”

Social Science instructor Mr. Sutton said, “I don’t think it’s workable. I believe phones became so important, students need them to help with their school work so they can manage their assignments and things of that nature.”


“Most students are in compliance with it,” said Monica Banks, school director of Mental Health. “I don’t see students really not in compliance. I see most students are more engaged with each other and more socializing, and find ways to communicate with each other more effectively.”

She added, “I think in the beginning with anything that changes, even as an adult when we go through changes, it can be difficult for us to adjust with the change. But the kids don’t seem to have much of an issue with that.”

Ms. Banks also said, “I think the benefit in general is just to stay off social media, because what we see on social media, most students believe that’s what real life is, and that’s not what real life is.”

What happens next year?

“We may do some adjustments based on how students’ behavior shifts,” said Mrs. Latson. “Maybe we will allow our students to have their phones out during lunch time.”

“It depends on what the kids do now,” said Dr. Banks, “whether the kids show me they are responsible.”

If students are in classes recording teachers and other students, “they’re sending the wrong message,” Dr. Banks said. “At our school safety is number one.”