As East students poured into the building this September, they entered a place where many changes had been implemented. Some changes were visible, others literally behind walls. While the new piping and construction are essentially invisible, the renewed ban on electronics and hats has made an immediate impact on the student body. Students lost yet another freedom during the school day, one that has been taken for granted in the technology-driven society in which we now live. Unfortunately, the administration has mandated students to adhere to this new policy, which is unsettling for many who have become accustomed to such gadgets and headwear.
To resolve the feeling of resentment resonating within the walls of East, the policy forbidding the use of hats and electronics must be reformed. The rule should be made less harsh, as cell phones and other electronics should be allowed outside of the classroom. Learning does not take place while walking in the hallways or eating in the cafeteria; therefore, such freedoms should be allowed in these areas. Furthermore, this policy has elevated tensions among students and teachers, as some teachers are eager to pounce on students who violate the rule, perhaps by accident. This friction has negative effects on the entire school community. Meanwhile, we recognize the security threat in students wearing headwear; thus, this part of the policy should still be enforced.
East has been a successful high school in the past, even with such “distractions” permitted. East was a “Blue Ribbon” school in 2002-2003 and has received many top rankings, emphasizing our academic excellence. With the installation of the new policy, many students may feel more obligated to sneak around using their cell phones and other electronics in spite of the administration. Essentially, the new policy has only slightly reduced the amount of cell phone and electronics usage instead of eliminating it completely. Finally, students can no longer make emergency phone calls home unless they want to trek down to A-Wing and make a call. These calls could be personal, thus dissuading students from making important calls when needed.
Eastside recognizes the importance of having a controlled and focused learning atmosphere, but we believe that this harsh policy will be more of hassle than a success in altering our academic environment. Technology must be accepted as part of our school community, even if it must be used in modesty.