Finally A Ban We May All Be Able To Support

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In general, bans are wrong. However, I think this is one ban that should be imposed nationwide.

In a move that has garnered attention and support, Maple Grove Middle School in Minnesota implemented a cellphone ban for students a year ago, and school officials report that the impact has been profound.

Principal Patrick Smith of Maple Grove Middle School described the ban as “game-changing” and believes it will have lasting positive effects on students. According to Smith, before the ban, the school witnessed a noticeable lack of face-to-face interactions among students due to excessive cellphone usage. He also cited the negative consequences of social media-related drama and conflicts, which often spilled over into the school environment.

The decision to implement the cellphone ban came in response to various issues tied to the devices, including bullying, fights being arranged online, and significant distractions from the learning process. Under the new policy, students are required to keep their phones in their lockers during the school day, and any violations result in confiscation of the device for the day.

Importantly, the school administration collaborated with parents to gain their perspectives before implementing the ban, and the response from parents was overwhelmingly positive. Smith noted that parents and the community have been highly supportive of the policy, and no significant opposition has been encountered.

After a year of implementation, the results are speaking for themselves. Smith observed that students are happier, more engaged with one another, and that hallway behavior has improved dramatically. While the long-term impact on academics is still uncertain, feedback from parents suggests that the ban is making a positive difference in students’ focus and participation in class discussions.

The success of Maple Grove’s cellphone ban has inspired efforts by Republican state Rep. Kristin Robbins to extend this approach to more schools across Minnesota. Robbins pointed to research indicating that the proximity of smartphones can be a significant mental distraction for students, impacting their ability to concentrate on their studies.

A recent study by Common Sense Media revealed that 97% of 11- to 17-year-olds use their phones during the school day, with varying amounts of in-school screen time. The study also highlighted that students checked their phones an average of 51 times per day. These findings underscore the prevalence of cellphone usage among students during school hours.

It is worth noting that data from the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that cellphone bans in schools have fluctuated over the years. While 91% of schools banned nonacademic phone use during the 2009-10 school year, the figure decreased to 66% by 2015-16, before rebounding to 77% in 2019-20.

Maple Grove Middle School’s experience serves as a valuable case study in the ongoing debate over cellphone use in schools, prompting discussions on whether similar measures should be implemented more broadly to enhance the learning environment for students.