HERNDON, Va. — Students at Herndon High School in Fairfax County are no longer allowed to use their cell phones during class.
In a letter to parents, principal Liz Noto said cell phone use among students has reached "an all time high" in recent months.
The new policy, which also prohibits the use of headphones, started on Monday.
"Cell phones, while great for ease of communication, often serve as a distraction to students and a hinderance to their success," Noto said in the announcement.
Students are allowed to use their phone during lunch time and passing times. Once classes begin, the phones must be turned off and put away.
"It's not really popular for students and I think it's unfair," Herndon High student Robby Salehi told WUSA9. "We need to talk to our mom, check our schedules, take notes and all that stuff. It's not just for texting. It's like a necessity to have your phone."
"Kids being constantly on their cell phones is a huge distraction and disrespectful to teachers," Helen Scherbenske, parent and mentor to a Herndon High student, added. "How are they learning if they're always on their phones all the time?"
There are exceptions to the rule, which include tracking medical needs and some specific documented learning needs. The letter said teachers are allowed to provide students with a five-minute phone break during class and they can also assign specific learning activities that might necessitate phone use (such as using the camera during photography class).
"Teachers will be following through on this new policy very diligently," Noto said. "It is our priority to engage you student in learning and this is a major step toward that goal. Please help reiterate the importance of this new policy with your student."
Parents who need to urgently get in touch with their child are asked to instead call the main office at 703-810-2200.