Students and Staff Divided

Conflicting views on the Updated Cell Phone Policy


Olivia Downin and Avani Kashalikar

“It’s like prison.”

“It’s gonna stop working in a few months.”

 “It’s definitely good for our learning.”




These were some of the many responses students shared in our anonymous survey seeking feedback on the updated cell phone policy.

With the 2022-2023 school year underway the newly edited Student Code of Conduct rolled out with an updated, more strict, and encompassing cell phone policy. 

 “I think it is important to enforce the cell phone policy because it helps students be more focused on the lesson at hand,” said history teacher Leah Vivirito, a member of the cell phone committee, who helped develop this edited policy. 

She continued, “It allows them to ignore all the distractions a phone presents and be present with their teachers and their classmates.”

Some students could see that reason. “Some people get very distracted on their phones,” said junior Savannah Gao. 

A month into the school year, assistant principal Adam Goldberg made a school-wide announcement on September 29 that reiterated that the cell phone policy must be followed during ARC time as well, as stated in the handbook.

The Student Handbook, found on the Hudson High website states, “Possession of and the use of electronic devices during the school day is a privilege… administration may revoke this privilege and prohibit any student from bringing electronic devices onto school property for any reason deemed appropriate.” 

Some students understand the policy and find that it makes sense, but feel it should be adjusted. Juniors Samantha Collette and Livianna Sousa said how they understand the policy and find how it makes sense. 

Understanding that this is a privilege, one upperclassman stated, “As a senior, I have done years of work to earn the right & respect to have my phone on me.” 

The Big Red posted the survey question on an Instagram story asking students and staff about their thoughts on this new cell phone policy, and the responses were plentiful.

“If students can’t be trusted with it then the teacher should have every right to take it away, but when there’s downtime in class, or you just need to check something, you’re not disrupting the class while doing it. Students should understand the appropriate times to do so,” senior Dan Demirjian said. 

Spanish teacher Steve Sacco, who has had students store their electronic devices away for many years said, “We all end up having to relinquish rights and privileges as individuals in order for the community as a whole to benefit.”

“I think it only enrages students and makes us resentful of the teachers,” senior Bea Goncalves stated. “Especially the teachers who don’t lead with an example and also put their phones up because ‘they would need it in case of emergency.’”

Others could see why the change was made, but wonder about the effectiveness of the policy.

“I feel they have the right idea trying to help kids pay attention. It’s just kind of executed poorly,” junior Ally Cassidy stated. “… I’m okay putting it in my backpack, but something really aggravates me about putting it in the pockets.”

The aforementioned pockets are similar to shoe holders, used to store student cell phones for the entirety of the class period, mentioned as a “dedicated space in the classroom” in the Student Handbook where students are required to place their devices in every class. The phones need to stay in the designated space and students may not bring them to the restroom during class. Students may use their phones during lunch and between classes.

While student responses show dislike for this new policy, teachers and administration see this as an opportunity to bring students closer together. 

“There is a time and place for your device, and as you get older you are going to have to learn how to manage it with what you do” stated principal Dr. Medeiros.

Science teacher Kate Cellucci echoed Medeiros and also stated, “ I haven’t seen any pushbacks, the kids are entering the class and putting their phones in the designated spot. I’ve seen that kids are more engaged.” 

When asked about the change seen in student behavior at school, Mr. Langan, another member of the committee said, “It was an immediate change, there were very few people meeting up in the halls, and student learning and student engagement increased because they don’t have a phone in front of them.” 

School counselor Melissa Difonzo responded to the Instagram question, “It has been great! I see more kids talking with each other!” 

This sentiment is not shared by all students.

“They’re letting a small group of students ruin it for the rest,” Demirjian stated. 

Another student echoed this thought in response to the poll. “It’s like giving the entire class detention because one person broke the rules

Many students are fearing their preparedness for college, saying how Hudson High does not ready them for the harsh reality of not having phone restrictions in college. 

Goncalves pointed out, “This is a shameful way of preparing us for college and the real world.” 

This idea was restated by many frustrated students, as they felt that they were not being given the chance to earn trust.

“We’re responsible,” said Max Zalewski.

Dr. Mediros explained the reason behind this new policy, “Last year was challenging on a number of fronts. We had some fights that were very public in the fall and some in the winter. And student behavior generally had students concerned, it had staff concerned, it had community members concerned.”

We should have more trust… many know how to be respectful with technology,” one senior expressed.

Demerjian concluded, “Taking our phones away makes us students feel as though we’re not trusted. Like we’re still in middle school.” 

The Big Red will follow up on cell phones in late winter/early spring.