A New Bell For DFMS:Friendly or Irritating?


The source of the new sound signaling the changing of classes for Dobbs Ferry Middle Schoolers.

Eve Sarno and Ava Neumaier, Staff Writers

Whoever walked into the DFMS cafeteria during 7th grade lunchtime on Monday, April 16, would have been perplexed. Cries of anguish and disbelief were rapidly breaking out among the tables as the P.A. system finished its monumental announcement. Or rather, bell test. So what happened?

It had been a normal, quiet lunch, except for the usual rowdy hullabaloo at the start of recess. Then suddenly, there came a new bell over the speakers that changed everything. A trendy, upbeat, ringtone, which was replacing the old schoolhouse bell. Silence followed; you could have heard dust drop. After a few seconds, someone asked incredulously, ¨Is that the new bell???¨

And then the announcements briefly crackled to life again, and a voice said, ¨Sorry about that, everybody. We were just testing the new bell. I repeat, this will be the new bell,¨ or something along the lines of that, because no one was listening very intently.

Promptly, the students began shouting their protests, because the majority hated, despised, abhorred, and loathed the new bell. There was even a short-lived petition that cycled throughout the school until Principal Mussolini put a stop to it. Though there was no concrete reason for the bell (who, if it were a person, would have been very hurt) to be disliked so greatly, the kids I interviewed gave their reasoning.

Salma Cruz, a 7th grader, remarks, ¨The bell is nothing more than an amplified ringtone! It’s long, loud, and downright weird!” A sentiment her classmate Nidaa Gulshan agrees with; “I get scared during class, thinking that my phone’s going off!” she exclaimed.

Sixth grade Language and Literature teacher Mr. Feller actually confirms that the phone-like nature of the bell is due to the fact that the sound is, in fact, taken from a ringtone website. Additionally, he explained that the reason that the bell sounds different every time it rings is because it’s constantly playing on a loop – but is muted, except for every 44 minutes, when the volume automatically increases for a few moments.

Since the 19th century, the flat, monotonous school bell had been training students to pack up their supplies and go to their next class. This “Factory Model of Education” taught the next generation of factory workers how the start and end times are announced, and this outdated system has never been interfered with, until Monday, April 16th, when the classic class-changing chime was finally replaced.

As the reader can see, there are many opinions about the bell, mostly negative ones. Though the old time-reminder/bell could sound a bit harsh, DFMS had had it for years. It had a sort of loose connection to the students which was part of school life.

Is everyone judging the bell more severely than is necessary? Isn’t it just a sound to brighten up an otherwise boring tone to signify the end of a lesson? Perhaps all the bell ever wanted was its listeners´ approval.

The next time you hear the new and improved bell, listen closely. Does it actually get on your nerves, or is it just a tool you feel indifferent to which helps you through the day? …..Ding-a-ling….. There it is. You’d better get to your next class.