Cell phone use in school should be a compromise, not a ban
By: Patrick J. Hoover
As parents we’ve all done it. And by it, I’m referring to calling or texting our kids during school hours. Yes, it’s frowned upon, and yes, you can still reach them by calling the front office, but should we really have to go through all that trouble just to ask, “Hey, how’s your day?”
Despite recent measures by Maryland and D.C. school districts to stop students from sexting during class, while incidentally impeding parents’ ability to get in quick contact with their children, students continue to sneak texts under their desks. Though some teachers and administrators catch the cell phone slips, a majority of texters go unnoticed.
In the age when news is no longer passed by word of mouth, and is instead texted or tweeted, districts are making a clear misstep by banning cell phone use during the school day. This problem can’t be resolved by opening the flood gates and allowing total cell phone use, or by completely banning any devices from school property, but there should be some sort of an in-between for parents to contact students.
So why not open cell phone use up at lunchtime or during class breaks? Watkins Mill High School senior Quratul-Ann Malik raises this point in her proposal to allow cell phone use during lunch.
“They got rid of pay phones a couple years ago in high schools,” Malik said to The Washington Post. “The reason they got rid of pay phones is because of cell phones. But students aren’t allowed to use them.”
I can guarantee I’m not alone in my irritation that I can’t get in touch with my sons for seven or eight hours during the school day. As an education attorney, the school’s argument is apparent: Administrators want to stop any distractions cell phones may cause, decrease cheating and prevent sexting during school hours.
Though Malik’s proposal has gotten a flurry of community response, and a great deal support by students in the area, it’s unlikely that the stiff school boards will move to allow cell phone use during a dedicated period of time during school hours.
I’m not pledging my support of texting in class or breaking the rules, but if the school districts continue to vehemently deny students the privilege of even carrying their cell phone it’s only going to make the problem worse. Like it or not, kids are going to do what they are going to do. And by pushing them to leave their cell phone off in their locker or book bag, they are only going to push back harder. It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, and cell phones weren’t even around back then, but if an administrator told me I couldn’t have my cell phone during school hours I would probably sneak a text too.