The Urban Legend

Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

Back to Article
Back to Article

Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

Tallula Ricciardi, Arts and Culture Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Entering the 2018 school year, Urban students were surprised to find a new rule put in place surrounding their phones. After being introduced last year by Health Education teachers Jenn Epstein and Shafia Zaloom in their classes, students returned this fall to see shoe holders hanging on the walls of every Urban classroom. The repurposed shoe pockets are a place for students to put their phones before class. Mandatory in freshman and sophomore classes and optional in most junior and senior classes, students and faculty have a variety of opinions surrounding the new rule.  

Geoff Ruth, Urban’s Academic Dean, said that cell phones in class are “distracting even if [students] have it on silent because the constant buzzing interrupts [their] thinking process… then it takes another couple seconds to refocus, and you multiply that by 100.”

“I’m not delusional, [I do not think] this is a cure-all… it’s not gonna solve the epidemic of this anxiety and stress,” Ruth said. When asked if he thinks it hinders the trust between students and teachers, Ruth said “[while] Urban students [approach] relationships from the perspective of mutual respect and trust, their responsibilities and expectations, both with technology and beyond, are inherently different; usually not in the students’ favor.”

Stacie Muñoz, Urban’s Director of Educational Technology, reinforced Ruth’s comments, saying “[It’s less of a] punishment, [and] more of [a] ‘lets all respect each other’s time’ … I think to the 9th and 10th graders, they’re fine. With the older kids [I want them] to recognize that we’re trying to set up good habits for the school, and we’re trying to really encourage people to be present.”

Health Education teacher Shafia Zaloom said she first introduced the phone holders “as a part of [her] ongoing research and understanding about teenage human developments,” because MRI scans have proven that when phones are not on our bodies but within a 2 foot radius, “parts of our brains [are] actually focused on the phone and not on what we’re trying to do.”

Kelsey Puknys ‘19 is part of the Curriculum Committee sub-committee, which influenced the decision. “As a freshman, I experienced [people on their phones,] and I thought it took away from the learning experience,” Puknys said. She added that she agrees it is less necessary for upperclassmen because in her opinion, “seniors are on their phones less by nature because they have to do well and pay attention.”

Emilia Caya-Blonkenfeld ‘21 said that “on [the] one hand it’s very helpful, [but] we also have computers [so it] doesn’t necessarily fix the problem.” She added that to her, it “just kind of feels tedious to put your phone in and every time end up forgetting [it].”

Kahlo Chen-Cerenio ‘22 is in favor of the phone holders, saying it helps him focus because “Sometimes when my phone buzzes in my pocket, I get distracted and think about it [instead of class].”

Despite the relatively positive feedback from teachers and underclassmen, Urban has faced backlash from juniors and seniors who aren’t used to the new rule.

Caroline Sloan ‘20 hinted at the disrespect some students believe the new rule implies, and said, “I think we’re old enough to use our phones the way we want to, and we’re responsible. I feel like we’re treated like elementary schoolers.”

Angus Schmitz ‘19 echoed Sloan’s comments about the phone holders, saying “I think they’re really dumb… I feel like that’s just like a violation of trust.”

Ben Galloway ‘20 said that the phone holders don’t help him to focus because all he ends up doing is “[staring] at the back of it [his phone] and [thinking] about what’s on the front of it.”

Galloway’s claims are another reason Urban implemented the new rule. The faculty is trying to combat the stress that comes along with not having your phone, in addition to promoting a focused learning environment. Zaloom said, “I [say] this as a parent [and a teacher]; you’re actually going to be okay without your phone and that your self-esteem and your resilience to navigate the world should come from within— not from a device.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Navigate Left
  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Arts and Culture

    Untangling “Avengers: Endgame”

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Arts and Culture

    Dissecting how the Battle of Winterfell went down in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3: “The Long Night”

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Features

    Humans of Flik Dining

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Arts and Culture

    New Netflix originals reach an all-time high in viewership

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Features

    2018: A year of developments for the #MeToo movement

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Arts and Culture

    The amazing pets of Urban

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Features

    Inside teacher offices

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Features

    Passage of Prop C may not be enough to solve SF homelessness crisis

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    News

    Midterm Madness V: What’s Next?

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    News

    Midterm Madness Part IV: What Happened

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    News

    The deadliest act of anti-Semitism in American history

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    News

    San Francisco votes to tax the rich to benefit the poor with Prop C

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Online Exclusive

    Girls varsity season ends with 3-7 loss to Sacred Heart

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Arts and Culture

    Behind Urban’s unique stonecarving class

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    News

    Midterm Madness Part III: What to Watch

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Arts and Culture

    A Halloween to Remember

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    News

    Midterm Madness Part II: What to Know

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    News

    Midterm Madness Part I: What’s Going On

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Features

    People of the White Privilege Conference

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Arts and Culture

    Teachers share their first kiss stories

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Arts and Culture

    Posters, traditional Chinese dancing, and a political prisoner: investigating Shen Yun’s religious connections

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Features

    Unlocking Locker Culture at Urban

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    News

    Agreement reached after Oakland teacher strike, but is it enough?

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Arts and Culture

    The note-taking hall of fame

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Features

    Male athletes at Urban discuss sexual harassment

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Features

    Argentine ants at Urban

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    News

    New papal edict attempts to address long history of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Opinions

    Opinion: Your ‘museum’ selfie is not art

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Opinions

    Opinion: Zion Williamson and the case for paying college athletes

  • Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety

    Features

    Reproductive rights endangered at the Mexico-United States border

Navigate Right
The School Newspaper of The Urban School of San Francisco
Urban’s new phone policies spark debate about student anxiety