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The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

VUSD dials up reinforcement of electronic device policy

Ventura+Unified+School+District%2C+VUSD%2C+reinforces+the+no+ear+bud+or+phone+policy+for+students+in+grades+sixth+through+twelfth.+
Ventura Unified School District, VUSD, reinforces the no ear bud or phone policy for students in grades sixth through twelfth.

Message delivered, VUSD, the 23-24 school year rang in with heavy reinforcement of the electronic device policy, board policy 5131.8, that was passed in 2021.

“Recent developments, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, have prompted us to emphasize and communicate these [phone and earbud] guidelines more effectively,” Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Greg Bayless said in an email interview.  

While this is an existing policy, the district did add a section on their website that outlines the expectations and violation protocols that come with this rule. 

The reinforcement of this policy stemmed from growing concern from staff of grades sixth through twelfth regarding a perceived increase in the usage of cell phones and earbuds during school. The evidence of their effect was believed to be correlated with a decrease in student grades and attendance throughout the district. 

“[These] enforcements have a crucial purpose, to cultivate respectful learning environments between teachers and students and minimize distractions to enhance the learning experience,” Bayless said.

As an elective teacher, Amanda Graves noticed that students would usually be on their personal devices more in their electives compared to core academic classes.

“When I returned from maternity leave I was shocked at how many students would not do any type of work in electives,” Graves said. 

Unlike in high school, middle school students can not be on their personal devices at all during school hours. This may be why underclassmen are able to follow this policy more than the upperclassmen. 

[These] enforcements have a crucial purpose, to cultivate respectful learning environments between teachers and students and minimize distractions to enhance the learning experience,

— Greg Bayless

Despite the reinforcement of this policy, students are still using their phones in class, usually when a site is blocked by the district or the internet is down. Having to go between devices can be hard to manage, especially when students are not supposed to be using their phones.

“I was looking up a word I did not know on my phone since the Wifi was not working and I got in trouble,” junior Lukas Sandoval said. “I was using it for educational purposes so it felt unfair.”

Students like Sandoval find it easier to use their phone over a chromebook when it comes to researching and homework due to these issues. It can be difficult when they are told not to use their phone one day, and the next they have to because the Wifi is down or a site is blocked.

While this reinforcement has only just begun, the staff and district have seen an improvement among students already. Students are shown to have paid more attention in class, going through the material more as well as an increase in consistent attendance.  

“[We have] seen a positive effect even without formally surveying teachers,” Bayless said. “We will look at grades once they come out.”

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Brooklyn Carrillo, Print and Media Editor
Brooklyn Carrillo is a senior at BHS and in her fourth year at Buena Speaks. She enjoys listening to music, and spending time in the pool playing her favorite sports, swimming and water polo.

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    AnonymousNov 14, 2023 at 6:38 pm

    Wow didn’t even know this rule already existed lol

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