Lane should allow headphones in hallways


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By Angela Kuqo

 

It’s passing period and a barrage of students pour into the hallway. I notice how many students are sporting headphones, either around their necks or in their ears. Occasionally, I also see people being scolded for it and having their devices taken away. And I ask myself, why?

I understand the policy on cell phones and why they are in place. Cell phones allow for communication and can be used to cheat, etc. However, what is the harm if a student wants to listen to music during a passing period as opposed to the cacophony of sound that comes from 4,000 something students moving from one end of the building to another?

Students do not listen to music in the hallway just because it is against the rules and they want to “stick it to the man.” They legitimately find something soothing about it. Some people need it to get them energized. Others use music to help them deal with a bad day. I see it as a sort of palate cleanser for my brain.

Going from class to class requires different types of thinking. I have to go from English class 7th period to Trigonometry 8th period. English requires creative thinking that allows you to analyze characters, symbols, metaphors and their meanings. Trigonometry requires cognitive thinking: following formulas, logic, and reasoning. When I get out of one class I find I am still in that “mode” of thinking. For example, when I get out of English I am still thinking figuratively and it throws me off a little when I step into Trig because I have to change abruptly to cognitive thinking. I find that listening to music in between classes helps me reset, and once I step into my next class, the transition is a lot easier and the material comes easier to me.

Another benefit would be that more kids would be on time to class. Most students have a vague idea of how much time they have left to get to class based on how many people are left in the hallway. Listening to music could possibly help. Most songs are around three to four minutes long. If I were listening to my favorite song during passing period and it was almost over I would know that it has been three and a half minutes since the bell rang and that I have 30 seconds to get to class.

Additionally, if more kids listened to music in the halls, the school would be much quieter and more peaceful place as more people would move around in their own little world.

So if listening to music in the hall would have all these benefits, why doesn’t the administration allows it? Is it CPS’s policy or Lane’s? The CPS handbook bans “Unauthorized activation or use of electronic devices.” Lane’s policy bans a long list of electronics outright. So what if Lane authorizes its students to listen to MP3 players during passing periods?

Some authorities argue that allowing students to listen to MP3 players encourages them to bring electronic devices to school, which can be easily lost or stolen. But…wait a minute…who cares? Every student knows that whenever they bring their cell phone or their MP3 player anywhere there is a chance of this.

We already have a policy in place for cell phones, so why not make one for MP3 players? If expectations are clear, there should be no trouble enforcing the rule. Rules would be simple: students can listen to music during passing period, all devices must be turned off and put away before entering the classroom, devices may not be turned on or taken out until the bell rings, and any lost or stolen devices are the responsibility of the student and not the school.

Other arguments say that headphones could be a major safety hazard because if loud enough they can impair people from hearing important announcements or alarms. However, announcements are never made while students are in the hallways anyway, and sirens typically are loud enough to overpower even the loudest headphones. Students can also still easily see what is going on around them and recognize when something important is happening.

So many benefits come from such a simple rule change, that is easily enforced. Students and teachers would be happier. And that makes for a more pleasant learning environment

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