Woodruff Library Electronic Resources Manager Marty Hamburger posts a sign to remind students that only library laptops are permitted at school. Photo: Abby Meyerowitz

After much deliberation, the Pace Board of Trustees has decided to ban students from bringing their own laptops to school. Most teachers believe that these technological distractions are hindering the success of their students. Students appear to get off track when working on their computers, preventing them from participating fully in class and efficiently completing their work.

Studies even show that the physical act of writing things down helps students comprehend much more than when they type. “Laptops are simply a means of distraction,” said English teacher Robert Kaufman. “When I teach, I prefer that my students give me their undivided attention or are actively taking notes.”

Some teachers caught onto this trend even before the official ban of the devices. History teacher Christine Carter prohibited her students from using laptops to take notes throughout all of first semester. “I find that my students understand the material so much better when they hand write their notes,” said Dr. Carter. “Studies prove this to be true as well, and I want my students to perform the best they can on the AP in May.”

However, the ban has been met with a backlash from students who value their freedom to use laptops. Some students struggle with handwriting, and typing their notes is the only way to make it legible. “My handwriting has always been horrible,” said junior Aaron Pascaner. “The board does not have the right to take away my ability to use a laptop. I can’t take notes without it.”

Some teachers struggle with the new policy as well. “As someone who spends hours exploring the web each day, I find laptops essential to society,” said math teacher Jason Smith. “Computers were created to be helpful and carry out tasks faster than any person can by hand. Why not take advantage of them?”

Although students can no longer bring their own laptops to school, the library will continue to make laptops available for checkout. Director of Libraries Matt Ball recently announced that the library will purchase another cart of Apple brand laptops that will be available to students for only one period for typing essays or doing projects. “We want to make sure the students have access to some sort of technology for important assignments without getting distracted by their own computers,” said Mr. Ball.

The Board of Trustees has decided to fund a pencil dispenser to provide students with pencils throughout the school day. It will be placed on Administrative Assistant for Student Life Bowen Eagleson’s desk. This solves the issue of not having a pencil to take notes with in class, as many students tend to lose or run out of pencils often. The board is doing their best to make sure students have the materials they need for proper note-taking, hoping to increase test scores and overall grades. “Pencils lead to notes, notes lead to understanding and understanding leads to better grades,” said Head of School Fred Assaf. “My goal is for Pace academics to improve substantially in the upcoming year because of this ban on technological distractions.”

The ban will officially take place at the return of school from the holiday break on April 3.