Dear Northshore Middle School Families,
As you may know, the Surgeon General of the United States published an advisory outlining the impact of screen time and social media on young people. The report states: “Child and adolescent use of platforms designed for adults places them at high risk of “unsupervised, developmentally inappropriate, and potentially harmful” use according to the National Scientific Council on Adolescence. At a moment when we are experiencing a national youth mental health crisis, now is the time to act swiftly and decisively to protect children and adolescents from risk of harm.”
Our commitment is to provide the safest learning environment possible for all NMS students. This is one reason why we are requiring students to keep their cell phones put away in a secure location throughout the entire school day. They may keep their phones in their pockets, backpacks, or lockers, but they may not take them out during school hours. This includes lunch and Titan Time as well. Students with medical conditions requiring cell phones (e.g. blood sugar) will be allowed to use them as needed.
Here is a link to the video I made for students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5p_igAxCJg
If students take their phones out of their secure locations, they will be in violation of our school policy. Depending on the situation, consequences will be issued for violating this policy. We are not saying cell phones are bad; however, we are saying cell phones expose students to harmful risks at school and interfere with students’ ability to focus on learning.
Families: We understand emergencies happen, and there are times when you might need to send an urgent text to your student. You can certainly do this; we just ask that you call and inform the office so that we can let your child know they have an urgent text to check. Whenever possible, please text your student before or after school. Our policy also means students will not be taking their cell phones with them to the restrooms. If a student is keeping their cell phone in their pocket, they will need to put it in their backpack or a designated cell phone holder in the classroom before they sign out to use the restroom.
Thank you for partnering with us in this bold move. We realize it will require a period of adjustment. Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, student use of screen time and social media has risen dramatically. We realize it won’t be easy for kids to be off their phones for the whole school day; however, we believe it is our responsibility to take a stand on behalf of the health, safety, and education of our students.
Finally, we will also be keeping laptops out of the cafeteria this year. Students will not be using their laptops during Titan Time or lunch. This is also part of our effort to minimize screen time at school.
Below are some links with helpful information about the importance of limiting screen time and social media use by young people:
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns.
Chad Donohue, Assistant Principal