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Breck Bugle

Surprising New Phone Policy Threatens to Divide Upper School


As students were enjoying their summers, an alarming announcement materialized in their inboxes. Staring them down was an email titled, “August Update from Upper School Director.” The small percentage of students who did open their inbox were greeted by an email with a short introduction, followed by a menacing subheading titled “Cell Phones.” The screenshots immediately hit the group chats, and word spread like wildfire. The cell phone policy entailed a variety of new protocols, but most notoriously it involved placing cell phones in a phone sleeve at the start of each class. Many students were shocked, wondering if this was really happening. It wasn’t until August 28, the first day of school, when students were forced to come to terms with this new reality. 

Many students had glazed over the “phone free zones” paragraph, later meeting their fate after getting their phones snatched up by a variety of staff while in the chapel or theater. It is now commonplace to see grade level deans carrying a fat stack of cell phones in their hands in these phone free spaces, as students begrudgingly pass their cell phones down the line and add them to the impressive stack. These phones make their way to Mr. Ohm’s office, where he secretly enjoys hearing the buzz of notifications that he knows will go unanswered. When the clock strikes 3:20, the crowd in the upper school office grows, and one by one students make their way into the back to collect their phones. After they explain themselves and grab their phones, they receive a warning that this should not happen again, a warning that is too often left unheeded.

When speaking with students, we heard several different opinions regarding the phone policy. Grace Duffy (‘25) claims to have mixed feelings about the new policy. She states, “I feel less distracted, although sometimes I forget my phone which can be annoying.” Additionally, she spoke about a startling moment when the entire phone holder in one of her classes fell, and she discovered a new crack when inspecting her screen after the fall. 

However, not all students are so pleased with the new policy. Sam Bae (‘24), a well respected, if not slightly short statured member of the senior class, responded to the new phone policy with “BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”. 

Overall, the new phone policy represents a shift at the very core of the Upper School student body, one towards discipline and order. As Breck students we must all ask ourselves: Is this restriction of freedom worth the improvement in our focus and attention? While the answer will continue to be debated, it is clear that these are the conversations we must continue to have in an ever-changing digital world.

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