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Channing Hall Students Champion No Cell Phone Use

Oct 07, 2015 11:19AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

Channing Hall students have started a campaign to remind drivers to put down their cells phones while on school grounds. Pictured left to right: Back row: Emmery Willey, Lily Crofts, Cannon Fehrenbach, Sophia Withers. Second Row: Sage Whittaker, Cashel Fehrenbach, Isabel Crofts, Lindsay Matsuura. Front row: Nithya Mahasenan, Allison Park. Photo courtesy of Jessica Sudman

By Julie Slama

Draper - Don’t think about driving to pick up a carpool of students at Channing Hall while finishing a cell phone conversation — whether it’s for business or pleasure.

Already established are the courtesy reminders of teachers asking parents to turn off their phones while dropping off or picking up students, but now students are taking action.

“They realize that kids can get hurt if they go after a ball and bend over to pick it up and a driver is distracted and doesn’t see them,” student council adviser Jessica Sudman said. “So now they’re taking a stand and picketing the carpool lanes to make everyone aware that they need to get off their phones.”

Student council vice president Emmery Willey said the student council decided to step up safety by launching a campaign.

“Campaigning for No Cell Phones is very important because we need to remind that having your phone out is very dangerous and if you aren’t paying attention, you can hurt others and even yourself,” Emmery said.

Student council president Cannon Fehrenbach said that often parents who are on their cell phones don’t notice when cars ahead of them leave, so they don’t move up in the carpool lane quickly.

“Our school has a small group of students, so carpool should move very fast, but that is not always the case,” Cannon said.  “Parents are not paying attention to the students as well as the teachers. Teachers have almost been hit by inattentive parents, so it’s important that we do something for everyone’s safety.”

Already some students and volunteers are holding up signs to remind parents, grandparents and older siblings who may be picking up to put down their phones. Sudman also said that the school director Heather Shepherd has already sent out requests that people not talk on their cell phones while driving on school property, but still, sometimes people don’t appreciate being reminded to put their phones down.

“Our goal with this campaign is to get all parents off their cell phones, for the safety of Channing Hall’s staff, teachers and children,” student council public Relations Officer Sage Whittaker said.  “Already, we’ve noticed fewer parents on cell phones. So far, we’ve gotten a pretty positive response from parents, but we have been booed and gotten thumbs down — ironically, still on their cell phones. But, we’ll keep trying until all phones are off.”

Even so, the student council is taking it a step farther.  They will be holding a poster contest within the student body to determine the three best posters to display near the pick-up lanes.  Cannon said that the posters should draw parents’ attention away from the phone and remind them to put them away.

They also will write letters to adults who forget to turn off their phones as reminders to drive safely.

“These letters will include the reason to put away the phones, why it is important, and remind the parent of how it is dangerous (to use) your phone in a school zone,” Cannon said.

Student Council sixth-grade Historian Cashel Fenrenbach plans to include the time the drivers used their cell phones and remind them the awareness of being distracted at carpool.

However, the letters will be reviewed before they are sent out.

“We don’t want them to get angry at our letter; we want them to realize what they are doing and the importance of not using cell phones at that certain time,” student council eighth-grade historian and green chair Sophia Withers said.

Nithya Mahasenan, who is the student council secretary, said they are putting into place what they are learning.

“We are an IB (international baccalaureate) school and are supposed to be taking what we learn out of the classroom,” Nithya said.  “We have been taught to be problem solvers and that is what we are doing.”

Sudman said that the student council wants to remind everyone to drive safe and follow the law.  

“The students are excited to be using their communication and public relations skills and to reach out to their community to make a difference.  We understand everyone is busy, but we want them to focus for the time they are here and make sure nobody gets hurt.  We’re a close community and we’d be so devastated if something were to happen,” she said.

Emmery agrees: “Channing Hall is an IB school and we learn how to be open-minded and try to improve the world in any way. If we show parents that we care about the problem enough to try to fix it, then they will know that it is not a joke and that we mean business. We believe that if we see a problem, we will try our best to make it better or to fix the problem.

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