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10 Students desire cell phone privileges at lunch VIEWPOINT December 2010 www.thewestwordonline.com

Kamoy Blake Staff Reporter

Amanda Barkin / Photo Editor

NO SIGNAL Many students want the opportunity to use their cell phones in the cafeteria.

“Put it away!” is a phrase students constantly hear at Westhill. Students use cell phones in class, in the hallways, and at lunch, even though school policy prohibits it. Cell phones are a major distraction because of texting and the ability to use the Internet to access Facebook and other sites. But what about at lunch? At lunch there is no classroom, no teacher, and no work. Lunch is a time to relax and recharge in order to make it through the rest of the day. So the question becomes, should students be allowed to use cell phones during lunch? “It’s a school rule, and you’ve got to follow the rules,” Tenth Grade Administrator Ms. Nordin said. However, I think that the use of cell phones should be allowed

during lunch. Students often have to make phone calls during lunch because it’s the only free time we have during school. For instance, I work two jobs. Sometimes my employers will call me during school and notify me of any changes to the schedule. Lunch is the only time I have to reply. Senior Annie Zhang feels the same way. She added, “Students should be allowed to use their cell phones during lunch; it would save the administration and teachers energy. They would not have to constantly tell students to put their phones away. Students [who know] that they have an allotted time to use their cell phones would, hopefully, reduce their use of cell phones during class.” I believe that students should be able to make responsible decisions when it comes to using their phones, and administrators

should realize that not all students are using their cell phones for destructive purposes. In this technological age, students will use their cell phones in school regardless of administrative restrictions. It’s better that they use them during lunch than during class. Moreover, high school students are old enough to take responsibility for their free time, which includes lunch. Senior Ashley Richardson says, “I think that there should be designated areas for using a cell phone during lunch. Students should be able to use their cell phones at lunch because it is a time when we can chill and relax because many students work hard in school and need free time to unwind.” While cell phones can be a distraction, administration should pick its battles and allow their usage at lunch.

Media Center abuse causes aggravation Elizabeth Quartararo Managing Editor

When the bell rings for my fourth period Independent Study, I know that I have to run to the Media Center in order to find a quiet space to do my work. I have no time to stop at my locker or make any detours; I am headed straight for a free table in the back or, if needed, a computer. Ordinarily, a full library is a good thing. It should mean that students are actually doing their work and utilizing the resources provided to us by our school. However, a full Media Center often means rude, noisy students who are looking for a place to hang out and play computer games. Student disrespect towards the Media Center specialists and their peers is childish, and it’s important to us students take responsibility for our actions. The problems start at the gates to the Media Center—a threshold only to be crossed with a pass. Although one could easily argue that the one-name-per-pass and other pass-related rules are a bit rigid, it is also easy to see why such rules are in place. Students try to sneak past Media Center specialists and then argue with them for the sake of putting on a show for their snickering friends. While senior Dione D’Elia worked quietly at a Media Center

table, she said, “Half of the people that come into the library don’t belong here, and the librarians only tell them to be quiet. I think they should be kicked out and a list should be kept of disruptive students so they are no longer allowed into the Media Center.” During my time in the Media Center, I’ve witnessed fullout games of tag and have had to duck from flying water bottles, paper airplanes, and even food. Some students come to the Media Center to have a good time and see how much they can get away with. Recently, I watched as a student crawled under Media Center tables and around bookshelves on his hands and knees while the media center specialists tried to kick him out. Taking advantage of the distraction that their friend was creating, other students began to fly a remote control helicopter over their table. In addition to being rude to the Media Center specialists, these students are a huge distraction and annoyance to their peers. I wanted to hear Head Media Center Specialist Ms. Benedict’s thoughts on the problem of disruptive students in the Media Center, but it took almost a whole period for me to find a free moment to speak to her, because she was busy managing rowdy students. Once I did get to talk with her, she said that the real problems are the “repeaters,” who

Elissa Miolene / Photo Manager

MEDIA MAYHEM Hardworking students are disturbed by the increasing number of disrespectful peers who play online games in the Media Center. she describes as the 5% of students who keep coming back to the Media Center to misbehave and talk back. Finding an available computer is equally as difficult as getting ten minutes without having to dodge projectiles or refocus after witnessing a student-specialist showdown. The problem isn’t so much that large classes often take over both groups of computers but that the students on the computers are rarely on academic sites. I recently had an experience

where I noted that on the computers around me there were three football games being watched on YouTube, two students playing Internetbased games, and one computer that someone had claimed as hers but that she was not using. There were three students on academic websites. This was not a busy day, and I was able to use a computer to do my work. However, the ratio of academic websites to non-academic websites remains about the same on crowded days even when classes

come in with teachers. To some, the problems seem hard to fix. “I don’t think the Media Center problems can be solved. Students just have to look past it. No matter where you are, there will be distractions, and students need to find a method for coping,” senior Nick Eliezer said. Either the serious students of the Media Center will have to learn some coping strategies, or the disrespectful students will have to learn some common courtesy.

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Elizabeth Quartararo peers who play online games in the Media Center. Amanda Barkin / Photo Editor Elissa Miolene / Photo Manager Managing E...

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