Cell Phones and Schools: The Conundrum Continues

It’s 12:17, fourth period at W.S. Neal High School. A classroom of students sits at their desks, rushing to complete their classwork before the bell rings. Most are still working when the door opens, and the principal walks in carrying a metal detector.

By now, everyone knows the drill. No one moves, bags are kicked away from the desks, and purses are put on the ground. A female teacher goes through all of the girls’ belongings, while a male teacher goes through the boys’. Slowly, every student is scanned with the metal detector; if something is picked up, they are inspected further and further, until the cause is found. This is a well-practiced ritual, happening more often than any fire drill.

What could these teachers be looking for? Weapons hidden in clothing? Drugs in the backpacks? No. They are looking for cell phones.

Most people would agree that this level of disdain towards cell phones is ridiculous. While cell phones may be distracting in the classroom, the searches have to be even more so. Since most schools are now overcrowded, this means very thoroughly searching up to thirty-eight students at a time.

But they aren’t just looking for cell phones. They’re also looking for cameras and MP3 players. These are frowned on just as much as cell phones. And if you’re caught with any of the three, you will be either suspended or given three days in school suspension. So, while all of the other students who did not possess any “illegal electronic devices” are learning, the students who did are either at home or in a completely different hall doing “busy work” that teaches them little to nothing. How can people say that electronics are more distracting than being yanked out of class for days at a time?

Not only are schools too strict about the cell phone policy, they are completely backwards about MP3 players. In fact, parents and teachers have known for years that teenage students usually learn best when listening to music. It helps improve their memory of the subject, and helps them tune out all of the other disruptions.

So why shouldn’t teens be able to have their MP3 players and listen too? And as for the cell phones, most people who want to text in class will, whether the policy is changed or not. Except now, maybe, just maybe, they will wait until after the teacher is done lecturing, because they can text in peace now. And even if they don’t, they will still learn more from the bits of the lesson that they hear than they would sitting at home or in ISS.