Cellphone Ban Transforms Mt. Scott School Days
by Jake Arnold, Oregon School Boards Association
Students waiting for the Mt. Scott Learning Center school day to start gathered in the cafeteria on a recent morning. They played table tennis and pool, chatted at tables or gathered around a student playing a piano in the corner.
Not a cellphone was in sight.
The Portland alternative high school has completely banned cellphones in the building, and many students say they prefer it.
Junior Jonah Duncan said he initially rebelled when told he would have to stay off his phone. But it has helped him focus on his classes and raise his failing grades to all A’s, he said. Now he is a fan of the school’s cellphone ban.
Educators around the world agree cellphones are a pox on students’ learning, mental health and social interactions. Removing the ubiquitous devices is easier said than done, though. Cellphone bans constantly run into enforcement problems, with uneven application by teachers and staff who already have enough to do.
Mt. Scott has found a technological solution that helps them. More than two years of implementation has shown administrators and teachers it’s well worth it for schools to find a way to remove phones from the school day, they say.