Phone Jail


On the first day of the new school year, students have re-encountered what they have been calling phone jail. Pouches made for calculators are now replaced by phones to count as attendance. Most Morro Bay High students question this practice and why it exists. 

The Morro Bay Highschool student handbook explains more about the cellphone rules. Section six under cell phones / other electronic devices, states that students can have and use phones at school. There is no rule that students have to put up their phones in the pouches. The caveat is that teachers can take it away during instruction or if it disrupts the peace of the classroom.  

So what does the phone pouch practice look like during instructional time? Well, it does depend on the teacher and their take on the phone policy. When Mr. Mamamarella was asked about phone pouches he answered with,  

 “I never use it…” he elaborates on why by saying, “…I believe that the purpose of school is not just to learn English, Math, or Science. It’s all about learning about all of school life.”

Classrooms can look like Mr. Mammarella’s class where a cell phone pocket is not in use. A classroom can also look like Mrs. Dowell’s classroom. As Brent Rivera a Freshman at MBHS described it,

“Before Mrs. Dowell’s class starts, we have to put our phones up in the phone chart. Then we can get our phones again after the class ends.”Overall the phone pouch rules vary on the teacher’s beliefs and how they want their classrooms structured. 

Most MBHS students feel strongly against cell phones in classrooms. For example, señior Evita Escalante reveals how she feels about the phone pouches,

“Phone jail is awful! They (teachers) put it in phone jail and it sits there all day and I stare at it and get sad. But I must get over it because it’s stuck in phone jail for the rest of class…” Even though Escalante feels strongly against the phone pouches she confesses they are effective.

“… but I’m not constantly looking at my phone every second and not getting distracted.” 

Brent Rivera also agrees that the phone pouches are practical. Rivera also argues how it is raising the bar, which is a new goal and slogan for the 2022-2023 school year. 

“As for doing its job, yes. Its purpose is to make students not use their phones in class. We do not. I am on the fence about the phone pockets. But as for raising the bar, I understand why they have a phone chart, they want us to pay attention to the topics they teach.” 

Although the phone pouches are not included in the MBHS student handbook they are a reasonable way for students not to get distracted during instructional time. The use of the phone pouches varies in classes depending on the teacher’s beliefs and how they see fit. Overall students do not enjoy “phone jail” but understand why it exists. 


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