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Teachers Weigh-In on New Phone Rules

New Rules for CHS and what this Means for the Student Body
Erich Bohn
Teachers have adopted phone pockets to deal with the possibility of students being on their phones during class. Now that the rules have been changed, these pockets have become more common throughout the school. However, teachers do have some freedom in how they choose to enforce the new rules. “I get that a teacher’s classroom is their classroom and I want them to feel independent and that they can do what they need to do,” Dean of Students Nick Colangelo said.

Conifer High School has recently implemented a new cellular phone policy that restricts the use of phones during classes to increase in-class participation among students and teachers alike. This policy breaks from previous years and now has come to more closely resemble cell phone policies in other Jeffco schools.

“Cell phone use has gotten disconnected from the social situations where it’s allowed and where it isn’t,” English teacher Josh Nielson said. “We just have gotten so addicted to these devices that sometimes we don’t understand that sometimes it’s inappropriate to use them.”

The policy lays out consequences for students using phones during class time. The first time a teacher sees a phone out in class, a warning will be issued to the student, the second, third, and fourth time a teacher sees the same student on their phone, the phone will be confiscated until the end of class. After the fifth infraction the student will be sent to the office and the offense will be recorded in Infinite Campus. It is only until the sixth infraction that consequences such as the student’s phone being turned into the office each school day will be applied.

“We’re trying to work with you on this, we’re not just hardlining and suspending kids if we see their phones,” CHS Principal Gregory Manier said. “There just aren’t many kids who will say that they learn better while they look at their cell phones.”

Although usage of cell phones in class is not allowed, the use of cell phones in hallways and the use of earbuds and headphones are allowed as long as a teacher permits it or if the teacher is not actively teaching. Restrictions are also loosened in classes such as study hall and free periods as long as students are finished with their schoolwork.

“It was a policy created by admin, me included, and we all stand behind one another in that policy,” Dean of Students Nick Colangelo said. “It was something that we as a school felt we needed so that we are a unified front on the rules about cellphones in class.”

A student uses their cell phone having been given permission from the teacher. Although student use of cell phones during class is restricted, during certain periods or under special circumstances, such as a teacher giving explicit permission, it can be allowed. (Erich Bohn)

Although the policy is something the admin agreed to put in place, there may still be room for improvement, as Colangelo said he supports students being more involved with the schools running.

“Your voice is strongest when it’s together so find other students who agree with you and air out those grievances with the appropriate people,” Colangelo said. “Go to me, Mr. Manier, Ms. Paschke, Mr. Horner, and Mr. Kragel, and tell us what you feel needs to be done and we can have a conversation about that. Everyone on this admin team and in this building is open to conversations and we want to hear from you guys.”

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    Alexander IngallsSep 14, 2023 at 8:15 PM

    I don’t really understand why this article is called “Teachers Weigh-In on New Phone Rules” when only one teacher is interviewed (Nielson), who is already known to be vehemently anti-technology–why weren’t more teachers interviewed? I know plenty who are aggrieved by the new rules put in place, but this article seems to claim that both admins and teachers are united behind this new policy, which they most certainly aren’t.

    I do like that CHS Today is reporting on this, though. Lots of discussion to be had on the new Manier-era rules which weren’t present under Paxton. Hope to see some reporting on the new Lobo Loop & exemptions soon, or the teacher-attendance office power struggle. Good on the school newspaper for refusing to shy away from the more contested topics!