In the past, schools have enforced the rule of no cell phone use at all at school, not even in the hallways. Recently, a student had a family emergency and had to leave school. The school realized the student could have known of the emergency if she had been allowed to have her phone with her. Now the school is rethinking the “no cell phone use” policy and the practicality of it. Student may soon be allowed to have their phone during the passing periods to keep them informed.
It has been suggested that the school should let the students keep the phone on the desk to where the teacher knows the student is not on their phone during the class period. However, the school has been so strict about the “no cell phone use” policy, some doubt whether such a complete turnaround will benefit the students or create the very situation school officials are trying to avoid.
As parents, many of us believe that the students are in school to learn. Yes of course they are, but when you put a phone in front of the students, it makes it harder for them to resist the urge to be on their phone. This can subsequently make it harder to focus, causing them to fall behind in their school work, leading to gaps in education. However, because the students deserve to be informed in case of an emergency, they should have access to their phone if needed.
If the students have their phone on the desk where teachers can see they are not on their phone, they would still be able to catch their phone lighting up in case of an emergency. To have this actually work, the students, parents and teachers are all writing to the principal urging approval of these suggestions. Once approved, a letter will be written to the superintendent of the schools to see if they agree on the situation. Many parents believe their child should have their phone in case they need to quickly get in touch with them.
One issue that we have come across is that there are parents that text their children during school in order to check in on them, simply to make sure everything is going well at school. We also do not know what constitutes an emergency and they might exceed the cell phone policy and could get everyone penalized for something only one parent did.
Of course there will be set rules as to what is considered an emergency or not. The other issue would be that the teacher does not know if the student actually has an emergency or if they are just on their phone because they want to text their friends, claiming an emergency when there is no actual cause for alarm.
The arguments for and against allowing students to use their phones in school hold merit. It is for us, the parents, school administrators and teachers to find the middle ground that can satisfy everyone’s concerns on this issue.
By Xuma Metcalf