By Isabella Giallanza, Photo Editor
Recently, a new challenge was proposed by Dean for Student Life Melissa Whelan to promote the elimination of cell phone usage during school. The school handbook states, “Students may not use their cell phones during the day for personal use. Any abuse of this policy during the school day will include immediate confiscation of such devices with subsequent disciplinary action by the dean for student life.” Because of ongoing failures to adhere to this policy, Whelan incentivized compliance with the rule by offering ice cream to the entire school should students last a week without her, or any other faculty member, having to confiscate a cell phone. Whelan has renewed this challenge each day, and the students have failed each time.
The idea of somehow announcing the names of those who failed the challenge to the entire school has recently gained popularity among some students and faculty members who believe that this form of punishment would encourage students to stop using their cell phones during school. Other students and faculty members, Whelan included, believe that this form of public humiliation is disrespectful and can promote negative messages.
“I just think singling certain people out can make them feel really bad, even though they may have broken the rules,” junior Jackie Chafart said. “I know I wouldn’t feel great if someone announced to everyone that I made a mistake.”
Calling out students for improper cell phone use can cultivate an overly competitive spirit that goes against the school’s otherwise generally loving and uplifting atmosphere. While this public punishment could result in students being more committed to the cell phone challenge, adding this consequence might encourage students to target the ones who “lost” the challenge. Students should be able to face the consequences of their mistakes without fear of being humiliated by their classmates.
By creating the potential for students to reprimand their peers because of mistakes they have made, the community would not be adhering to one of its core values: respect. Trinity Hall encourages students to make mistakes, but more importantly, to be able to pick themselves up and learn from their actions.
We must continue to be the nurturing and supportive environment we have always been. If the administration shares the names of cell phone offenders with the entire community, they may inadvertently teach students that making mistakes should be punished with humiliation and shame. Instead, we should embrace our mistakes and encourage ourselves and our friends to dust off and start again.