Lenox School District bans student cellphone use during school hours

(Record file photo)

By Evan Triantafilidis

LENOX — A Southern Berkshire County school has banned the use of cell phones for sixth-, seventh- and eighth graders during school hours.
Administrators from Lenox Memorial Middle and High School have recently had trouble distinguishing eighth-graders from high school students during shared lunch periods, causing the school’s assistant principal Brian Cogswell to revise the cell phone policy for the upcoming school year.

About 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone, according to a 2018 study conducted by Pew Research Center, based in Washington, D.C. But under the updated policy, middle school students can expect an after-school detention as punishment if caught in possession of their phone. The high school policy had allowed students to use cell phones during passing time and lunch time, as well as classroom time if permitted by the teacher.

“It was kind of difficult for us to see who the eighth-graders were, who shouldn’t have had them,”said Cogswell.

He added that the school, primarily split into separate middle and high school wings, had been less strict with the eighth grade in the past.

According to the new policy, students may sign for their phone at the end of the day, following a first violation.

Any subsequent violation during the school year will require a parent or guardian’s signature when the phone is picked up. All violations of the procedure will result in after-school detention.

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