The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Tensions build

September 19, 2022

During the lunchtime protest, a large crowd paraded signs and chanted in disapproval of the d.tech administration and its new policies.

One of the policies that d.tech recently implemented is its e-hall passes; digital hall passes requiring students to request to leave the classroom via their computers. These hall passes enable d.tech staff to know where every student is at all times, and the e-hall pass website claims that this tracking helps “to limit mischief, meetups, vaping, vandalism, and much more.”

According to Victor*, a d.tech student and suspended protester, e-hall passes can be inconvenient. Victor’s and others’ names have been altered to protect them from possible repercussions in accordance with Carlmont’s anonymous sourcing policy.

“If someone has a bad day and they’re crying or not feeling good, and they need to go throw up or something, they can’t go on their computer real quick; they just need to go,” Victor said. “And especially for upperclassmen who will be legal adults soon, we’re being treated like children.”

Students also report feeling violated and frustrated by d.tech’s use of GoGuardian, a software that allows teachers to see students’ computer screens.

“It blocks a bunch of websites. It’s really frustrating when you’re trying to do stuff that it doesn’t let you do,” said Jordan*, a d.tech senior. “Personally, I think it’s a bigger problem than the Yondr pouches.”

The pouches Jordan referred to are part of one of the main policies the students protested. Implemented at the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, d.tech’s Yondr policy requires students to put their cell phones in a locked “Yondr pouch” at the beginning of the day, and they are unable to access their phones until day’s end. 

“One of the main arguments was that most seniors are 18; we’re going to go to college soon, and we have to learn how to live on our own. Taking our phones away and treating us like we’re five is kind of ridiculous,” Jordan said.

The protest was not the first time d.tech saw opposition to the Yondr policy. According to Victor, d.tech polled parents on the prospect of Yondr last summer. Victor noted that the vast majority disapproved of the policy, but it was still established.

However, the implementation of Yondr was not unfounded. Peyton*, a transfer from d.tech, affirmed that students were unreceptive to consistent requests that they don’t use their phones during class last year.

“I can’t stress enough how kids had been on their phones during every class for the entire year,” Peyton said. “They had been given multiple heads up that they should stop before something happens.”

Nonetheless, Yondr has deeply upset many students and they direct much of this anger towards the person who implemented the aforementioned policies, the student culture coordinator. According to Jordan, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the position in the past.

“That position has been kind of rocky since I started school. We’ve had three or four since my freshman year. It’s always changing. And no one ever really seems happy with the person in that position,” Jordan said.

Liam*, a d.tech student, noted that these conflicts likely stem from a lack of effective trust and communication within the d.tech community.

“The culture of d.tech has a lot of broken trusts, where the students don’t trust the faculty, and the faculty don’t trust the students, and none of them communicate with each other,” Liam said.

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