EDUCATION & SCHOOLS

No more taking phones from students, Granger High School implementing new policy this fall

Jun 13, 2024, 4:41 PM | Updated: 6:40 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY — Teachers at Utah’s largest high school are done taking away cell phones from students. They’re trying something new in the Fall, and if they’re successful, other schools might do the same.

Principal Tyler Howe with Granger High School said many students walk into school, and check out.

“Sometimes we can be physically here but not mentally,” Howe said.

Using their phones, students compare themselves on social media, chat online, and are distracted by notifications.

Within ten seconds of teachers reminding students to put their phones away, Howe said they’re right back out again.

“Teachers came to me and said we’ve got to do something different,” Howe said.

The Granite School District is implementing a district-wide policy, banning cellphone use in the classroom – something they hope to approve in a council meeting next week.

“Let’s get rid of that distraction and let’s get back to learning,” Ben Horsley, spokesman for the Granite School District, said.

Previously, the Granite School District has allowed each of its 87 schools to determine a policy and enforcement. K-8 schools had a bell-to-bell ban, while some high schools allowed phones during lunch breaks and between classes.

The school-by-school policy has created different enforcement cultures. Some teachers take the policy seriously, while others are not enforcing it.

By creating a district-wide policy, Horsley said that enforcing cell phone bans will be more consistent.

“They would now be up to disciplinary action if they don’t follow this,” Horsley said.

Yet, the policy allows each school to implement the cell phone ban in its own way.

At Granger High School, they’re buying a magnetic cell phone pouch for each student.

During first hour, students will put their cell phones in the pouch and lock it. Teachers will have the magnetic key that will open the pouch at the end of the school day.

“The teachers are very on board,” Howe said.

Most parents are on board too, though some have expressed concerns about emergencies and the need to contact their kids during the day.

“The good news is teachers and students will have quick access to unlock them if they needed to,” Howe said.

If students forget to bring their pouch or refuse to use it, Howe said they have manilla envelopes students will use to turn their phones in with the office for the remainder of the school day.

“The magnetic pouch allows the student to maintain possession of their own phone,” Howe said.

One parent, Braeden Jensen, said he’ll watch and wait to see what happens before sending his daughter to Granger next year.

“I have hopes with a healthy amount of skepticism,” Jensen said.

Jensen taught high school for seven years and now works as a mental health professional at Accepted.

“I’ve found with students that I’ve taught, clients that I see, and my own kids, that loneliness is a huge thing,” Jensen said.

Depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are all outcomes Jensen sees as a part of a greater issue.

“A cell phone gives a young person a reason not to feel,” Jensen said.

When put in an uncomfortable or tough situation, Jensen said you can watch teenagers pull out their cell phones so they don’t have to feel the pressure or stress.

“We have a lot of kids that aren’t equipped to handle those emotions, so when they happen in a job, in college, in a friendship, or in a relationship, it turns into anxiety or depression,” Jensen said.

Howe has seen students “checking out” in the hallways and lunchroom at Granger High School, and terms it “phone snubbing.”

“There have been huge changes in mental health,” Howe said.

He hopes the new phone pouches will help students “check in” again with each other and with learning.

The school board will read the second version of the Granite School District policy proposal on Tuesday, June 18.

KSL 5 TV Live

Education & Schools

Utah State University's "Cow to Cone" event allow for people to see how ice cream is made. (Utah St...

Mike Anderson

Utah State University’s ‘Cow to Cone’ event shows the process of how ice cream is made

Utah State University held its first ever "Cow to Cone" event on Friday. It's an opportunity for people to see how ice cream is made.

2 days ago

FILE — Blake Anderson (KSL TV)...

Larry D. Curtis

USU to move forward with firing of coach Blake Anderson

Utah State University notified Blake Anderson Thursday that it is moving forward with his termination as head coach of its football team.

3 days ago

Major changes are coming to the ACT college admissions exam in the spring, the CEO of ACT announced...

Nic F. Anderson and Jason Hanna, CNN

Changes coming to ACT exam, including the science portion being made optional

Major changes are coming to the ACT college admissions exam in the spring, the CEO of ACT announced Monday.

5 days ago

Utah's Winter Sports School, located in Park City educates student-athletes during the summer month...

Karah Brackin

Winter Sports School in Park City helps student-athletes pursue academics, sport

Winter Sports School in Park City designed to bridge the best of both worlds — academic and sports — at the highest level.

6 days ago

The BYU Rocketry Team took home three awards at the 2024 Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico. (Brig...

Emma Benson

BYU Rocketry Team blasts off at intercollegiate competition

The BYU Rocketry Team took home three awards at the 2024 Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico.

8 days ago

FILE - In this May 13, 2018, file photo, new graduates walk into the High Point Solutions Stadium b...

Jocelyn Gecker, Associated Press

Is college worth it? Poll finds only 36% of Americans have confidence in higher education

A new poll finds Americans are increasingly skeptical about the value and cost of college. More than two-thirds of adults surveyed in the poll released Monday by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation say they feel the U.S. higher education system is headed in the "wrong direction."

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

No more taking phones from students, Granger High School implementing new policy this fall