Four Months In: All Aboard and Cell Phones

Mehreen Najeeb, Staff Writer

Going into 2023, student expectations at Minnetonka High School have been well-established. This was due in no small part to the All Aboard videos and discussions implemented by the administration, especially for newer MHS students.

Among the goals and expectations set, phone usage was a prominent problem. Phone usage in class has long been an issue, with students often being annoyed about having to put their phones away in class.

All Aboard “serves a reminder each week of things that I should improve on”, said Saloni Siddavatam, ‘26. It has helped to “spread awareness of why phone usage during class is a poor choice”, she said. This is especially important after the COVID-19 lockdown left many students unprepared for normal, in-person school days.

Laura Herbst, a learning coordinator at MHS, says that phones are a “significant distraction for many students”, and generally wants students to use technology responsibly. Since students use iPads for most schoolwork, many students view their phones as equally important.

English teacher Jordan Cushing argues that phones are meant to be put away because having a “common ground” through the All Aboard program helps students better understand assignments, and helps class flow more smoothly.

Still, phones are not universally bad. Keona Lawrence, ‘26, says that compared to last year, she uses her phone in a school context more because “communication is more important for clubs and messaging”. Many students use their phones before and after class, or when their teachers let them — as long as it’s not during class time itself.

Herbst says that All Aboard has been a “powerful tool” in reducing phone usage, but that “there’s no quick answer or fix for anything”. Supporting students in learning and as humans is not going to be done in a day, but All Board can be a “powerful tool” in doing so, Herbst said. 

For the sake of students and teachers alike, it is best that students keep their phones stashed away during class, and leave texting and social media for passing time.