Oak Mountain HS benefiting from decreasing cell phone usage

At Your School: No phones in class at Oak Mountain

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Students are talking to each other face to face again. Don’t laugh! Since the usage of cellphones, it’s been a problem to get people to interact face to face and in school, teachers have been in battles to get students to stay focused on the lessons at hand.

When Oak Mountain High School decided to limit the use of cellphones in class they expected a fight and what they got was a pleasant surprise. No one was more surprised than Susan Swartz, calling it the best thing that’s happened in the 8 years she’s been teaching.

“I have to tell you have thoroughly enjoyed not having cellphones in my classroom and I was probably the last person on the faculty to be for it,” Swartz said, “but the change it has made in our student body is phenomenal.”

Dr. Kristi Sayers was adamant that students can still keep their cellphones but just not in the classroom since teachers now have enough chrome books to go around, one for every two students.

“What that has given us the opportunity to do is take the phones away because we don’t need them. When we first instituting our BYOD policy (bring your own device), it’s because we didn’t have the necessary technology. We do now so the phones stay in the back packs. The students are still allowed to use their phones before school, after school and during lunch time," she said. “And with the cellphones being gone ear buds are also gone and so now when I speak to a kid in the hall they hear me and they look me in the eye. That’s the thing we lose in cellphone usage is that one-on-one eye contact. Those are huge soft skills for getting jobs, college interviews. It’s the greatest thing in my eight years here and I never thought it would be like that. They proved me wrong."

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