MPHS Earbud Policy

The start of the 2022-2023 school year has many new policies in the student handbook.

 One policy, in particular, the earbud policy, has created some discussions about focus, student work, study habits, and preferences. The policy has an impact on not only the students but the entirety of MPHS. 

Mineral Point High School principal Matt Austin, who helped with the policy creation, believes that enforcing this policy will eliminate at least one distraction for students and will be a positive change. He also stated that he is “open for change and open to talking about it.” 

Mineral Point High School students, offer another perspective saying that students rely on earbuds for noise control in class and help with focusing. Senior, Tyler Nordstrom, stated that “students shouldn’t have to ask to use them but if they are asked to take them out they should comply and not put up a fight.” 

Staff members were asked for their point of view on the newly adopted policy. Some are okay with the idea of earbud use during silent work time in class. Some teachers could relate to feedback from students acknowledging that “I can’t even do my work without silence or some kind of background music.” Others support the policy saying earbuds were not necessary. One staff member stated her reason for support of the policy “…we don’t know what students are listening to and we don’t know if they are paying attention in class.” 

Researchers have done numerous studies on the effects of auditory stimulation in school environments. Many of the studies show that students learn best in silence and music seems to be more distracting. However, this shows that earbuds can be especially effective if put on a “noise canceling” setting to block out other distractions in the classroom. Some can argue that students should just stay silent so others can focus but often times group work or simply asking a friend for help is necessary to complete tasks given to students by teachers. Studies also show that everyone learns differently no matter what. So when one student can learn or focus their best silently, the student across the room may learn and focus the best by listening to their favorite music. Mineral Point High School administration has some heavy decisions to make — earbuds in or earbuds out?