Audio audacity: Students use concealed earbuds to avoid authority


Malcolm Taylor

Sophomore Theodore Arado sits in English class with an Apple AirPod in one ear, his teacher Colin Rennert-May in the background. It's not uncommon to see students wearing AirPods throughout the school day.

Anathea Carrigan, Reporter

Outside a chemistry classroom, students lounge against the walls, excitedly flying through the events of the past weekend or running through sheets of homework, comparing answers. In one corner of the hallway, students lunge at each other, attempting to snatch an AirPod right out of their friend’s ear before class starts. Neither friend wants to sit through the class with nothing to distract them from the teacher writing on the board. One girl shrieks as her friend mistakenly pulls her hair out instead of the headphones. As the teacher arrives, they settle down, resigning their claim to their friend’s headphones for the day. 

Headphones have become one of the most popular methods for teens to ignore teachers, authority figures, and anyone else they don’t care to listen to. Teachers feel as though this is threatening the learning capabilities of U-High students.

Students have used headphones in the past to drown out noisy hallways as they finish their homework. As friends walk past each other in the halls, they notice the presence of headphones and resort to a simple nod of the head as acknowledgement. 

I feel like students aren’t listening to me if they have earbuds in, even if they leave one out”

— Katy Hundley

Sophomore Saul Arnow said, “When I see my friends wearing headphones in the hallways, I don’t stop to talk to them. I don’t want to bother them.” 

Security guards have begun to notice students who never remove their headphones. As students attempt to slide past others congregating around the desk to tap their IDs, the security guards don’t let them off easily. They call out the students, telling them to tap their ID or fill out the sign in sheet. Students wearing headphones can easily ignore these 

reprimands. By lowering their head and keeping up their quick walking pace, students with headphones in can quickly make their way to the locker room, pretending as though they didn’t hear the guards calling out for IDs.

Security guard Brian Arceneaux said students using headphones to ignore him makes it harder for security staff to do their job and keep the school safe and secure.

Headphones don’t stay in the hallways though. The popularization of bluetooth headphones have allowed students to discreetly sneak their headphones into class. In the back of the class, students hide their headphones by simply flipping the hood up on their sweatshirt or letting their hair down to conceal their ears. Students gently elbow their friends as an indicator to turn the music down when it starts to get too loud. 

Sophomore adviser Katy Hundley said that her advisees are often wearing headphones during advisory programming, but it doesn’t bother her too much. However, when she catches students in her Spanish classes wearing headphones, she is far less lenient. 

“I feel like students aren’t listening to me if they have earbuds in, even if they leave one out,” Ms. Hundley said.

Scattered through the three floors of U-High, students can be seen sprawled on the floor in front of their lockers, huddling over textbooks, furiously scribbling away at notebooks or staring at their computers. No matter what they are working on, music bleeds out from their earbuds as they bop their heads to the beat of the bass, unaware of what’s going on around them.