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Cell Phones: Yes or No?

Students have commented often on unexpected rule changes during these first few weeks of school. One rule that has not changed, however, is the clearly-articulated limitation of cell phone use on campus—and yet this fall has seen more visible violation of the policy than ever before.

As cell phones play an increasingly central role in lives all around the world, banning them here seems more and more unrealistic. However, we should evaluate their role in Deerfield life by examining our own values.

The elimination of room phones has certainly made cell phones a more necessary form of communication among students, but texting in class, answering calls outside of the dining hall, reading e-mails on the way to sports practice—do these activities fall into the category of “necessary” or simply “isolating?”

As we revise new rules this fall, we should revisit the principles behind our old ones. Cell phones, while useful, isolate and distract their users from the world around them. Do such features make them simply incompatible with the community-based character of Deerfield? It’s time for students and faculty alike to pick a side and decide whether to let this rule stand or slide.