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Allderdice Administration Announces Cell Phone Pouch Policy; Prompts Petition

Allderdice Administration Announces Cell Phone  Pouch Policy; Prompts Petition
Pavel Marin

On August 21, Principal Dr. James McCoy announced in his back-to-school newsletter that the school would adopt a cell phone pouch policy. The plan will be implemented during the second quarter. The principal released the following statement:

“Cell phones are not permitted during instructional time and adoption of Yondr Pouches [will occur] during this [second] semester. Students will continue to have laptops as a tool to further engage them in their learning experiences, but a cell phone is not to be out in a classroom unless approved beforehand by a teacher.”

11th grade Class President, Nikhil Saxena, told The Foreword, “It will be easy to lie and put something inside the pouches that is not their phone.”  Saxena also added, “I think that if we are preparing kids for college and life, that taking phones away is bad because in the real world people do not take away your phones to avoid distraction.”

The general PPS policy says, “The Board generally prohibits electronic devices from being visible, used, or turned on by students during the school day in District buildings and on District property”, and schools follow intervention if the phone concern persists.

The school says they are buying the pouches from Yondr, which is committing to “[create] phone-free spaces for artists, educators, organizations and individuals.” 

In response to the announcement, Allderdice students created a petition through, demanding the principal oppose the new plan. According to Aleteia, the Yondr pouches for school children will cost between “$15-30.” The petition claims the pouches will cost “$40,050 for the student population…[when instead]…we could be investing it into new band equipment, air conditioning, more social workers, or saving it for future use.”

Schools must follow a Board process policy in order to restrict the use of electronic devices. According to Policy 216 in BoardDocs, the school must have a “school-based Discipline Committee” that follows the following process:

  • “[Must] Request input regarding the proposed restriction from the PSCC and student advisors, verbally and in writing; 
  • Obtain approval of the assigned Assistant Superintendent; and
  • Develop a proposed communication plan for notifying students and parents/guardians of the restriction.”

Danielle Venson signed the website, saying that “they remind us how we’re in high school and yet they don’t treat us like high schoolers, this is middle school behavior.”

The petition says, “Allderdice parents were requested to fill out a survey on cell phone procedure…Students were given a short-notice opportunity to fill out the same survey, just one day before the end of the school year.” 

The petitioners say towards the end, “We, the students, alongside [the] support of our Senior Student Leadership, will make sure we are heard. We will soon be adults and the Pittsburgh Allderdice Administration should start treating us like it.”

Oliver Hsu signed the petition and said, “The majority of [Allderdice] is upset about the pouches, so it shouldn’t be a policy.”

Madee Schnarrs, who signed the petition, said “It’s not safe for that big school and for the kids to not have their phone all the 8 hours there [in the building]…it should be our right to keep our phones for safety.”

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About the Contributor
Pavel Marin
Pavel Marin, Staff Writer
Pavel Marin is a senior at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School. He serves as Member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, Ambassador at The Promise, and Youth Board Member of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Outside of his roles, he enjoys quality time with friends and family, while also keeping up to date with political news and world affairs.

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