Updates from Upperclassmen: Students, staff hope new cell phone protocol will help learning, mental health

Published 8:00 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

Updates from Upperclassmen by Carley Ladlie

Albert Lea High School is introducing changes this year, the most notable being the brand new cell phone responsible use protocol.

Carley Ladlie

The administration hopes this new protocol will of course help with learning and focus in class but also students’ emotional development, mental health and help kickstart a healthy relationship with social media and technology in general. Administration is also thinking that this will help the overall culture of the school by helping students make connections face-to-face rather than through a screen.

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The protocol puts restrictions on cell phones but also anything that could be deemed a distraction like AirPods, Chromebooks, portable gaming systems and more.

The protocol consists of red and green zones throughout the school with the stoplight method being used in classrooms. Red zones are times and places where students are not allowed to have their cell phones and green zones are where they can. “Zones are neither places or times, they’re both,” says principal Dibble. Classroom zones are dictated by whether a teacher has an arrow pointing to a red, green or yellow light on their stop light poster. Red again being students should not use any technology, yellow being they can only use school-issued Chromebooks and laptops, and green being they can use their cell phones.

Red zones include bathrooms, locker rooms, hallways during class periods, in classes where there are red or yellow stop lights or when asked by a staff member. Green zones are before and after school, passing times, in the commons, and in classes on a green light. It is important to remember that red and green zones are not just places but also times. So ALHS students should remember that when going to the bathroom during class, they should leave their phones in their backpacks or with a teacher.

If students are found to have violated any of these rules, there is a three-step intervention plan. The first intervention is in the classroom with the teacher where they will give the student a verbal warning and might have to turn in the device to the teacher. If the problem continues, there will be a second intervention with the administration in the office where the student will have to turn in their device at the beginning of the day. Again if the problem continues there will be a meeting with the student’s family to determine a plan.

The protocol started as soon as school began but they will be more lenient this semester so students can all get used to this new change. However, in the second semester, the rules will be more set in stone.

Though this change is big and some may not like it, the benefits are no joke. Students and staff are hopeful that this new protocol will help students learn and live better.

Carley Ladlie is a sophomore at Albert Lea High School.