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Middle School implements new cell phone policy

The School’s administration, represented by Head of Middle School Sean Fitts, announced at Middle School Morning Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24, that Middle School students won’t be able to use their phones or stream videos online for entertainment from the start of advisory to the end of the school day. Head of Middle School Sean Fitts said the policy will mean greater use of laptops, which can be monitored through the School’s Wifi system, and fewer distractions from cell phones.

“I don’t see the phones coming back, ever,” Fitts said. “You can do pretty much everything on your computer that you can do on your phone. ”

Head of School Priscilla Sands explained that the reason that the policy was implemented for only Middle School students is so that they can learn better discipline and work habits.

“Our expectation is that in Upper School, you have a greater ability to self-regulate because you’re older, your brains are more mature,” Sands said. “In Middle School, it’s harder to do that. We had instances of students not even wanting to harm one another, but just using texting and social media in ways that were overwhelming for them socially.”

Sands said she hopes new policy will prevent students from being distracted from school.

“We had students who were watching movies during the day, we had students who were doing a lot of communicating outside Marlborough with other students and we feel that there are times when adults have to step in and protect kids from being in a situation over which [younger students] don’t have as much control,” Sands said.

Student reactions to the announcement were mixed.  Middle School President Tara ’20 said she approved of the School’s policy, but that she understood why some of her peers were upset.

“People were really mad.  I think we’re really addicted to our phones, which says something about why [the School created the policy], but people were still upset and didn’t know how to cope with not being able to use their phones,” Tara said.

Although the rule does not apply to the Upper School, the administration encourages upperclassmen to act as role models of effective digital use for the younger students. The new cell phone rule for students is the first step in the administration’s plans to amend the Acceptable Use Policy for using technology at school.