Give me a ring?
Some schools are just saying no to cell phones. They are seen as disruptive to the educational process. Frustrated educators say they cannot compete with apps, text and games. Some kids are sexting. Educators say that allowing students to spend so much time on their devices is just feeding an addiction that would be better terminated.
The Grand Rapids Michigan school district has banned cell phones at any time during the school day, even at lunch. The superintendent said kids are less anxious when not tied to their phones. More than 30 schools and/or whole districts have implemented some sort of restrictions on cell phone usage in the last year and a half. California has passed legislation that gives local districts discretion if they want to restrict or ban the use of cell phones. Four other states have approached the issue with mixed results. Arizona tried to pass legislation that would ban the use of electronic devices in the classroom unless allowed by an authorized educator. The legislation failed. Maine tried to adopt rules restricting the use of cellphones in the classroom, but allowing them in the front office. This legislation also failed. Maryland wanted to appoint a task force to study the issue and report back to the legislature. That didn’t even get out of the gate. Utah wanted to require individual school systems to develop a policy on the use of cell phones that would be submitted to the state department of education. That, too, flopped.
Some teachers have asked administrators to restrict the use of cell phones. But why is there so much push back?
The biggest push is from parents not the kids. They want to be able to reach their children in case of an emergency. Oddly, this is one of the big reasons some school safety experts do not want the students to have cell phones in school. In case of a real emergency, school safety people say they want the students to be following staff directions and NOT looking at screens. Some parents highly resent that they cannot contact their children whenever they choose, emergency or not. When schools do implement cell restriction policies teacher say they are too difficult to monitor and take as much time away from instruction as the phones themselves. They also say that the students are pretty adept at using the phones undercover.
The most rational direction seems to come from the organization Common Sense. The notion seems to be that cell phones are now an ubiquitous part of our lives. We need to teach kids how to appropriately use them and to develop a plan not a ban. Give me a ring when you figure that out.