ANCHORAGE (KTUU/Gray News) - Lumen Christi High School in Anchorage started the school year off with a 100% cellphone-free policy.
After years of watching students distracted by pings and buzzes from their phones, teachers and staff decided they needed to make a change.
“A cellphone really is an addiction and they couldn’t go without constantly being glued to the cellphone screen,” said Dr. Antje Carlson, Lumen Christi’s English department chair told KTUU.
Carlson asked students to turn in their cellphones at the beginning of class, and about six weeks ago, the policy went into effect for all students for the entirety of the school day.
“I was bummed at first. I think all of us were,” said Caleb Furneri, a junior at Lumen Christi. “We’re really used to our cellphones. We learned how to adapt to it. It’s kind of nice because when we aren’t on our cellphone, we can interact more, especially between classes.”
“At first, I didn’t like it,” said Joshua Van Tuyl, another student. “I’ve seen a positive effect on our school. People are socializing more, we’re actually focusing on school instead of checking our phones all the time.”
Students turn in their cellphones during homeroom. They put their phones in a labeled shoe organizer where it remains for the day.
“One thing I noticed, as a parent and school administrator, is that kids are much more engaged with one another but they are also engaged with other staff,” said Anne Gore, who is the mother of two students at the school as well as an administrative assistant.
According to Carlson, the school has had no issue with stolen or misplaced phones. In an emergency, the school said there are options for parents to get a hold of their children by calling the front desk.
Lumen Christi High School’s population is small, with about 70 students. Gore said its small size helps them carry out the no-phone policy.
However, staff members say it could work for a bigger school too.
“If it works on this small of a scale, I think I can only imagine the positive effects of the cellphone policy on a larger scale,” Carlson said.
“Just in the last month and a half, we’ve had very, very positive results with the level of interaction students have, the level of engagement students have,” Principal Brian Ross said. I think teachers are very appreciative of that.”
Copyright 2019 KTUU via Gray Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.