Cell phones have become a part of everyday life, indeed they are as much of most people as their own hands and feet. What of students though? With summer winding down, and back to school sales popping up across the nation, school districts are again faced with another year of fighting off cheating, fights, weather, parents, and cell phones. I would add pagers to that list, but that’s so 20th century…
Several school districts have already banned cell phones and other electronic devices, in fact there is probably a district near you that has. In those areas that have not banned cell phones outright, often times teachers will ban the use of phones in their classrooms. There has been, and likely always will be, a heated debated on the subject. Much like laws for our nation, not everyone will agree with a decision. Regardless, a decision must be reached and then enforced.
So what is the big deal about cell phones in school anyway? Nearly everyone has one, and they can be very handy for calling in an emergency, should one arise. What if another school shooting should occur? It would be helpful for a call to go to 911 as soon as possible. But lets take a step back and think about this for a moment…
1) I would be willing to bet every teacher will have a cell phone, and if not a cell phone and landline.
2) Assuming you allow cell phones, your going to have dozens, if not hundreds of frantic students placing 911 calls from the same area. Switchboard overload.
3) More calls will NOT equal a faster response time.
Obviously the idea of a cell phone being helpful in an emergency is there, but is grossly exaggerated in this application. One or two in the hands of staff would be more than enough. I am also sure students are capable of using the provided landline phones within a classroom.
That has been the primary argument of pro-cellphoners, that and “what harm is it?” comes up frequently is discussions as well. How about cheating, for one? Not just texting answers back and fourth but taking a picture of the test, even video. While little harm would be done in a pop quiz, this could radically manipulate SAT and ACT scores.
It is also common knowledge that drug dealers use cell phones on a regular basis, and allowing them (phones) in schools is only going to aid that activity. And someone show me a student who learns how to balance equations while playing farmville on facebook!
Perhaps a better compromise to all this, is don’t ban cell phones outright, but ban their usage while on school grounds, or while class is in session. Mimic the way airlines handle cell phones during takeoff and landing. Turn them off and make them disappear. When the bell rings for lunch, then by all means, tweet your little thumbs off.