Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

Friends School of Baltimore's Student News * Founded 1938

The Quaker Quill

Friends juniors prepare for the 2023 Homecoming dance.
'Back to the Future' at Friends School [Brief]
Homecoming 2023 threw students from the '80s to the future, as DJ Ok got everyone on their feet, and even faculty busted a move.
Fans line up for snowballs from a Kona Ice truck during a break in the rain on Scarlet and Grey day.
Scarlet & Grey Day Hits the Quarter Century Mark [Brief]
On a recent rainy Saturday, Park and Friends School sports teams faced off in a series of contests, cheered on by hundreds of soggy fans.
On the final day of Spirit Week, seniors dressed in Friends School colors - scarlet and grey - for the annual Pep Rally.
A Silly, Spirited Week [Brief]
Leading up to Rivalry Day, students dressed up to show their school spirit - and sense of humor.
A senior accesses the Common App landing page for the University of Delaware. As college deadlines approach, the class of 24 is sleepy and stresses.
Seniors Feel College Pressure as Early Deadlines Approach [Brief]
The mood in senior hall is tense, as sleep-starved teens scramble to finish their essays - along with a heavy load of mid-semester schoolwork.
The Morgan State University Marching Band processes down the Friends School driveway, lined with cheering crowds of students, from preschoolers to 12th graders.
In a Year of Tragedy, Morgan Band Concert a Particular Gift [Brief]
Friends students expressed gratitude for the marching band's energetic performance - especially so soon after a shooting on the Morgan State University campus injured five students.
In Orioles fan and 12th grade dean Josh Carlins office, Friends memorabilia and a recent Baltimore Sun front page celebrating the teams winning season have pride of place.
Fans Dress for MLB Success on Friends' 'Orange Thursday' [Brief]
Led this season by an exciting core of young, up-and-coming stars, the Orioles have won back the hearts of many Friends School fans.
Award-winning novelist Jenny Offill visits the 10th grade English class of Rob Traviesso - her own former student.
Upper School Author Visit Brings Reunion [Brief]
Novelist Jenny Offill spent a day on campus meeting with students at the invitation of her own former student - English teacher Rob Travieso.
Senior Maeve Reichert, head of the literary magazine Mock Turtle, talks to potential 9th grade recruits during the 2023 clubs fair.
Highlights From Upper School Clubs Fair [Brief]
Dozens of clubs showed their stuff and courted new members at the high-energy, candy-fueled gathering on the quad.
Seniors line up in the heat to have their final yearbook photos taken.
Seniors Say (Melted) Cheese? [Brief]
This year's senior yearbook portraits fell during a record heat wave.
Lunch & M? Try Lunch & Melting [Brief]
Lunch & M? Try Lunch & Melting [Brief]
Heat broke records this month at Friends School of Baltimore.

“Phones in the Bin, Please”

New enforcement of an old Upper School phone policy leaves students questioning, and teachers adapting.
Destini Jackson
This year, Friends has stepped up enforcement of a handbook policy requiring students not to have their phones during class.

This year, students have found themselves facing a shocking new level of enforcement of the Friends phone policy. 

With the arrival of Upper School Head Brandon Rogers, Dean of Students Travis Henschen has asked teachers to enforce the phone policy in the Upper School Handbook. This policy has been in the handbook for years, but the enforcement has been lenient, so students had the option to store their phones in backpacks or pockets. Now, teachers are asking students to place phones in bins for the duration of class. 

“Cellular phones may not be on, visible or used during class time, Meeting for Worship, Collection or assembly without the School’s permission between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.,” says the Upper School Family Handbook on page 54. 

Many students are confused, assuming that this is a new policy being implemented. But it is actually an old rule, written about 15 years ago. 

“There is no new policy, it’s just being enforced more,” said Mr. Rogers, when asked about his involvement with the new phone policy. 

Either way, students aren’t happy about it. 

“My phone is not a distraction to me in class. I prefer to keep it on me in case of emergencies,” says senior Warren Scott. 

Senior Ella Salvador agrees.

“It should be on the student whether or not they choose to put phones in the bin,” she says. “At the end of the day, if you decide that you want to be on your phone during class, you’re the only one that will suffer because your grades will reflect that you weren’t paying attention.”

Junior Khadejah Allen adds that this restrictive policy isn’t getting high school students ready for college. 

“In college, they won’t collect the phones,” she says. “Isn’t high school [supposed to be] preparing you for college.” 

In Amber Wagner-Gaines’ math classroom, a charging station allows students to power up their devices during class. (Destini Jackson)

Knowing students don’t like this policy, teachers have found innovative ways to change the bins. For example, math teacher Amber Wagner-Gaines has a charging station in addition to her bin, which allows students to charge their phones while they are in class.

Despite most students being against this new enforcement, some teachers say they enjoy it. 

“I think it’s appropriate for you guys not to have your phones in class and in common spaces such as the Meeting House or the Auditorium,” says math teacher Jordan Wright. “I think this year there’s just a renewed emphasis on phones and perhaps it’s due to new leadership in general. But I mean, it’s a new year. Last year was last year. And I think faculty realized we could do better making sure the learning environment is better for you all during class.”

Many studies show that when students have access to their phones, they are more prone to distraction. A 2018 study by the Pew Research Center found that, “31% of teens say they lose focus in class because they are checking their cell phone – though just 8% say this often happens to them, and 38% say it never does.”

Although this research suggests that having some phone restrictions in school is a good idea, the Upper School hasn’t chosen to ban cell phones, like Friends Middle and Lower Schools have.  

Still, teachers and administrators recognize that the Upper School’s current policy is severely outdated. Mr. Henschen has started to update the handbook policy for the current school year, removing things like references to “musical devices” that no one uses anymore. Next year, he plans to form a committee with both student and teacher input, to write a new policy that reflects the way students use their phones these days.

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About the Contributors
Ryanne Brown
Ryanne Brown, Contributor
Ryanne, class of '24, has been at Friends School since 7th grade. She loves computer science and photography, and has been a vegetarian for over four years. She is involved in clubs such as Model UN, Hunger Committee, and Animal Committee.
Matthew Weisman
Matthew Weisman, Contributor
Matthew, class of ‘24, is an contributor to the Quaker Quill and is involved in many other activities, including Programming Club, Cross Country, and volunteer work at various locations.
Ulysses Brockman
Ulysses Brockman, Contributor
Ulysses, class of '25, is interested in drawling, painting, photography, and sculpture. He has wanted to be a journalist since finding his dad's Tintin comics when he was six. He's excited to write for the Quill.
Destini Jackson
Destini Jackson, Contributor
Destini Zaire, class of ‘24, is involved with and in charge of many organizations in and outside of school. She is passionate about travel and social justice. She has an eye for fashion.
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  • N

    NettiOct 10, 2023 at 12:37 pm

    My child doesn’t need to be in fear of invasion of privacy. No Phones!!