Hang up and learn.

cellphne.jpg     Kids and parents in New York City want the school administration to lift its ban on cell phones

They are wrong. 

I can imagine that, if my children went to school in the city, especially if they went to school in, say, Philadelphia, where so many students depend on public transporation to get around, and where so many kids have to travel through some pretty rough areas to get to schol and home again, that I would probably want  them to have a cell phone.

But, from a teacher or administrator's point of view, cell phones in school are a pain in the neck.  Students – especially older ones – routinely use cell phone text messaging to, amongst other things, cheat on tests, by passing around answers.  In our school, even after we instituted a ban, kids were using picture phones to harass and abuse each other.  Phones were used to take pictures of kids while they were in school, including in the gym locker rooms, and those pictures ended up on web pages, along with abusive commentary.  Boys used camera phones to take "upskirt/down top" pictures of girls, which were then likewise circulated.  Other camera phones came to school with porn downloaded on them. 

Our school district policy now is clear and simple: If you need to bring a cell phone to school, it has to be off and in your locker during school hours.  Phones cannot be turned on or used during the school day within the school building.  If you need the phone to call Mom or Dad or whoever is at home, the one in the office is available.  If you still "need" to use a cell phone, you can't turn it on until school is over and you are out of the building.  There are consequences if you violate the policy that can lead to suspension.  Period. 

At some point, somebody somewhere is going to have to start stemming the tide that says all kids have the "right" to have access in school to all the creature comforts they are afforeded at home.  Kids at school don't need to watch a television broadcast of the news every morning, complete with commercials, ala Channel One.  Kids don't need to play video games at school.  Kids don't need to bring their iPods to school.  Kids don't  need to have access to myspace.com while they are in  school.

And, unless there's really some sort of an emergency, they don't need cell phones, either.

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