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Cell phone policy update: Foothill Tech shares perspective on the policies progression

Maggie Lay
Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified) launched a cell phone policy at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year in hopes of enhancing student engagement and respect. Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) students and staff offer their various perspectives on its progression and whether or not they deem the policy successful in fulfilling its goals.

After Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) launched an initiative against student cell phone use for the 2023-2024 school year, with the goals of enhancing student engagement and respect, the policy has continued to create an impact on the students and teachers at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) with the progression of the school year.

The policy has had its’ effect around the school, with teachers continuously reminding students to put away their devices, and posters remaining around the school to promote the cause. As for student engagement, teachers and students have shown various perspectives of the policy and whether or not it has been successful.

The new cell phone policy has impacted the school significantly, but some students don’t believe it has achieved its initial goal.

Mia Bacigalupi ‘26, claimed that phones are not the issue, as she expressed, “I feel like the phones aren’t the problem … The teacher needs to be giving out lessons that actually make students involved, and want to learn about their subject.”

I see a lot of people using phones in class.

— Benjamin Garcia Frank ‘25

Benjamin Garcia Frank ‘25 suggested that student engagement has not increased because students find new ways to disengage from their classwork. “Students find either new ways [to disengage], like chromebooks and stuff, or they sneak their phones, or they spend a lot of time dozing off,” Garcia Frank stated.

Garcia Frank also communicated, “I think it’s helped some students stay engaged, I just think it depends on the person,” admitting that though some students find other ways to distract themselves, the impact of the policy can depend on the student who receives it.

While some students find that the policy doesn’t work for everyone, many teachers have observed a beneficial change because of it.

The policy works through a system of four offenses, with the consequences getting more drastic as the offenses continue. Naiyma Houston, a new addition to Foothill Tech’s staff, shared that she has not gotten to the fourth offense while teaching.

Houston remarked, “I have not had to get to the worst level, the only level that I have had to get so far was emailing the parent, and that was, I would say, productive … and then I didn’t see the problem continue.”

Sharing her positive viewpoint of the policy, Houston explained the key to the policy’s success is the fact that, “Students are familiar with it, parents are familiar with it, and it’s consistent in all classes.”

I have seen students being more aware of their surroundings.

— Alberto “Profe” Ortiz

Similarly, Alberto “Profe” Ortiz shared his positive experience with the policy. Ortiz stated, “I have seen that increase in focus in class,” going on to say that he has not confiscated any phones, the reason being that when he sees them they have only been used minimally, and swiftly put away.

Ortiz explained, “It hasn’t been an issue where they’re constantly using it or it disrupts the whole class,” acknowledging that he has yet to use the four offense measures.

As the policy continues to be implemented throughout the school year, it is clear that students and teachers have different perspectives in regards to its success, but only time can tell if the policy will work for both students and teachers for the entirety of the school year, and thereafter.

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About the Contributor
Maggie Lay
Maggie Lay, Reporter
I am a junior news writer who enjoys spending time with family, baking and going to petting zoos.

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