New Screen-free Shift at Westminster Leaves Students Wondering: Why?


Among the many new changes facing Middle Schoolers this year, the new screen-free shift has stopped students from using their computers in the locker commons altogether.

The new rule has changed much about this school year, like when and where work gets done. Patrick Egan, the 8th boy’s Grade Chair, was one of the many faculty who helped put this rule into play. “I had heard why [the screen-free shift] might be a good idea, and I think I became supportive of it in that moment,” says Egan. The leadership teams at Westminster pushed for this new change, and eventually, the rule was implemented with swift and decisive action. 

Egan credits the change to helping students develop better homework management. I know that there’s probably last-minute things that could be done on a computer that is helpful,” Egan says. “But at the same time, we want to think about what helps students think about the long term of being mindful of schedules and time and not being last minute.” Egan also notes that in the past, students misused their computers “Frequently it was either last-minute homework assignments that were being completed in the locker commons on computers, or it was gaming. That was actually the two things that I saw the most.”

While most of the leadership team finds the new rule a good idea, Westminster students have mixed views about it. 8th grader Dev Katarya has conflicting feelings over the new policy. “I think it’s a good idea,” says Katarya. “Recess [or] anything else is meant to be a break from screens and is meant to clear your mind and have fun. [However] students should be allowed to do what they want; after all, that is the point of middle [school], giving us more freedom.” 8th grader Edward Rosenblath disagrees with the new policy, saying “middle school is about more freedom. If we’re going to take on more responsibilities, which are mainly administered via computer, our access shouldn’t be restricted.”

Right now, there may be many different opinions and viewpoints over the screen-free-locker-commons shift, but proponents and opponents all seem to agree on one thing; middle schools everywhere offer the promises of freedom and responsibility. And if students want to remove this new rule, they will need to push for change as hard as they can.