‘We have to get back to that’: Dalhart High School updates phone, electronics policy to refocus students

VIDEO: ‘We have to get back to that’: Dalhart High School updates phone, electronics policy to refocus students
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 4:55 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2022 at 5:20 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Dalhart High School has updated its cell phone policy for the new year.

The new policy says that phones, headphones and smart watches must be powered off and not used in the classroom except during lunch.

The goal is to give students the best learning environment possible, and when students are constantly on their phones texting or listening to music, that is not possible.

“There are times when we just have to put it down, we have to disconnect and in the classroom that’s what it is,” said Scot Wright, principal at Dalhart High School. “We have to put it down, focus on the time at hand and that’s learning in the classroom.”

DHS is striving to create the best educational environment possible that is free from distraction.

“We’re trying to refocus, come back into what school is all about and that’s teaching and learning,” Wright said.

An English teacher at DHS took a survey last year of how many notifications students received each class period for a day.

The count was taken for 30 minutes of a 45 minute class period.

  • First period, 11 students, 209 notifications
  • Second period, 9 students, 134 notifications
  • Third period, 12 students, 240 notifications
  • Fifth period, 12 students, 100 notifications
  • Sixth period, 11 students, 262 notifications
  • Seventh period, 17 students, 875 notifications
  • Eighth period, 20 students, 244 notifications

Notifications came from Snapchat, TikTok, Life 360, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Wright said the survey of notifications was a part of making the changes for cell phone use in the school.

“Our goal is to not have constant notifications, to get back to the business of school, teaching and learning,” said Wright. “We don’t have the constant notifications so we can focus on why we’re really here.”

The results of the survey were posted on campus so students were aware of the findings. The survey started the conversation of updating the policy.

A couple years ago, DHS had a Disconnect Day where the campus didn’t use phones all day, the students had to have face to face conversations and played card games at lunch.

“The conversations and interpersonal skills, we have to get back to that and I think this will help,” said Wright.

The idea of no phones isn’t new to the school district. The junior high school already has a more strict policy that eliminates handheld electronics during school hours.

“It’s not going to be anything new, these kids who all went to junior high here are going to be used to it,” said Wright.

The updated policy has been slowly implemented with the focus of why students are there and the teaching that’s going on in class by students not constantly being interrupted by cell phones.

“The reason why we’re here is to learn,” Wright said. “We’re refocusing, we’re disconnecting, we’re going to be better because of it.”

Here is the full cell phones/electronics policy:

‘We have to get back to that’: Dalhart High School updates phone, electronics policy to refocus...
‘We have to get back to that’: Dalhart High School updates phone, electronics policy to refocus students(KFDA: Dalhart High School)

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