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The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

The student news site of Brimmer and May School | Chestnut Hill, MA

The Gator

Middle School’s New iPad Monitoring Policy Sparks Controversy

Apple Classroom enables teachers to view iPad activity.
Middle+School+English+and+Drama+teacher+Caitlin+Johnson+demonstrates+how+to+use+Apple+Classroom+%28photo+illustration%29.+
Rachael Rosenberg
Middle School English and Drama teacher Caitlin Johnson demonstrates how to use Apple Classroom (photo illustration).

New this fall, Middle School students are required to log into Apple Classroom during study halls for proctors to monitor iPad activity.

As the School navigates a post-pandemic world, the change aims to create a more productive learning environment, but it has raised controversy among students about privacy and trust with adults.

“I think during the pandemic [Middle School students] really relied on iPads in any kind of downtime,” Middle School Dean of Students Matt Gallon said. “Now that we are out of [the pandemic], we want to move away from that.”

Games are banned from the school day, apart from coding programs.

Despite the intent of this policy, it has faced backlash from students.

During the first week of classes, using the School’s email system, a student sent a petition to the entire division.

“A lot of people think that the new study hall system is a bad idea and is against the law,” the petition read.

According to Middle School Head Carl Vallely, the email petition was removed because it contained false information about the nature of Apple Classroom.

“Teachers don’t have access to browser history,” Vallely said. “They can simply see what app or site the student is currently on. They can only see the actual screen if they request permission from the student.”

However, games are banned from the school day, apart from coding programs.

TechTeacherNate

“Having teachers able to watch your screens is disconcerting and almost feels like your privacy is being removed,” Annie Washko ’28 said.

However, not all students feel similarly.

“I mainly agree with it,” Ava Bruell ’28 said. “It is a safety thing and keeps people on task.

On the contrary, Vallely feels that this new change has positively impacted the Middle School and the exclusion of screens has bonded the community.

“I’ve felt a huge shift in the climate and culture in the Middle School because people aren’t running to their devices all the time,” Vallely said, also adding that parents have reacted positively to the changes.

“I understand that it’s far too easy to go down the Internet rabbit hole—for adults and kids alike—and that some type of monitoring during school hours is worth exploring,” Mary Singleton, P ’28 said. “I would be interested in learning how and if this approach is successful and how success is measured.”

Another new policy requires that Middle School students use paper planners distributed by the School.

“Having to write down my homework in one planner has helped me be more on top of my work,” Charlotte Woolley ’30 said.

Despite this, some Middle Schoolers feel that the planners are unnecessary.

“I’ve found I can manage well without the planner,” Washko said.

Vallely says that the School is open to revisiting the planner policy for the eighth grade. As for now, all Middle School students will discuss their planners with their advisors and in Growth Education class.

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About the Contributor
Rachael Rosenberg
Rachael Rosenberg, News Editor
Rachael is the News Editor of the Gator. She is passionate about creating unbiased news for the School community. When she isn't writing, you can usually find her on a stage or reading a book.

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