Cell phones in class, rules examined
October 10, 2008
Kids today have grown up with access to technology unimaginable to past generations. When it comes to monitoring the use of devices such as cell phones in schools, are the rules and regulations keeping pace? What are the rules, who obeys them, and who agrees with them?
Students at Treasure Mountain International School (TMIS) are permitted to use their phones before school, during lunch, and after school. According to O’Connor, TMIS principal, between one and five phones get confiscated each week at Treasure Mountain because students are using them when they aren’t supposed to.
O’Connor said at Treasure Mountain International School (TMIS), they’re attempting to teach responsible use of technology, instead of banning devices such as cell phones all together. O’Connor used the example of adults interrupting meetings with their cell phones, explaining that, if students grow up using phones responsibly, they won’t be the person in the meeting with the obnoxiously disruptive, beeping cell phone.
Rules at Park City High School (PCHS) are a little different than those at Treasure Mountain. Matt Nagel, high school English teacher, explained rules as they pertain to cell phones at PCHS, "phones are not to be seen or heard from the beginning of the day to the end of the day." Students can use their phones outside the building, and only before or after school.
Tommy Martin, a senior at PCHS said that he brings his phone to school every day. He said that most teachers at the high school are pretty lenient about the rules, except during tests.
Some parents even send their kids text messages during class, according to O’Connor. He said that parents like being able to reach their kids immediately in case of emergency. O’Connor said that the school has a system, and parents can call the front office if they have a message that they want delivered to their student. Martin said that his mother will text him while he’s in class to remind him about a soccer game or tell him that she’s running late.
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Martin said that most teachers have more important things to worry about than students taking their phones out of their pockets to check the time. Martin said he thinks that during lunch or between classes would be a fine time to make a quick phone call or send a text, but it’s against school policy.
According to Nagel, students don’t usually honor the rules. At the high school Nagel said that teachers often confiscate phones if they’re out during lunch or in the halls. Nagel explained that he thinks that the problem with allowing students to use their phones during lunch is that PCHS has a staggered lunch, so students will be texting during their free period, but the student on the receiving end could be in class.
Nagel said that phones in classrooms raise two main concerns for him; disruption and cheating. According to Nagel, cheating is absolutely intolerable. Disruption, on the other hand, is more of an annoyance and a simple of lack of respect to him when he’s teaching a class.
Nagel said he’d like to see technology such as cell phones used as a teaching tool, "instead of just wagging our fingers at students," but he doesn’t think they’ve figured out how to do that yet.