Educating young people today is a full time job for all schools in American. Many of our students come to school not prepared to learn. They are in need of extra motivation to get them on the right track. Schools are taking on more and more challenges as they educate our children. The lack of positive support from parents is also at an all time high. To make matters worse, schools have no input on policies that directly affect their job. One of the policies that has a destructive impact on education involves allowing students to bring cell phones to school. This article will attempt to explain how cell phones are a distraction to the educational environment.
Our country is experiencing a breakdown in our K – 12 educational systems. The dropout rate is higher than ever before. When you compare our educational system with those of other countries, we are not in the top twenty. What has happened to our system? There are many reasons for our decline, but this article will deal with one. Politicians have made a lot of decisions that have been detrimental to our education system in the United States. Giving students the opportunity to bring cell phones into our schools has been very destructive.
Before discussing the pros and cons of cell phones in the schools, we need to examine what the decisions of the politicians (who are non-educator) are doing to our educational system in this country. When politicians change a law that will have a widespread and direct impact on millions of people, it would seem more appropriate to get some input from the people who have to enforce the new policy. I have been in education for over thirty years, and every time the politician or central office administrator decides to make a major change that will impact the local school, schools are never included in the decision-making process. The local school is always required to implement the change without input. This type of decision making has not worked and something needs to be done. Yet, for some reason, our country still continues to make policy changes from the top-down. When will we ever learn?
Now, let's discuss cell phones. Let's ask ourselves, "What is the purpose of having a cell phone in school?" Some argument that the phone is a must in schools because of home emergencies. If we ask each parent how many emergencies have they had in a school year, the number would be very small. If there is a "true" home emergency, why can not the parent call the school and let the school facilitate the communication? I do believe the contact will be handled quickly and in a less disruptive fashion. In the past, the schools have always handled emergencies and there were no problems. What has changed?
If an emergency occurs in the school, the school would rather not have students calling parents and getting them all upset before the problem could be investigated. It may not be an emergency at all. If it is an emergency, it may require the school to have a special alert that could involve everyone in the community. So the bottom line is that students who call parents without permission generally do not have full knowledge of the problems. Sometimes the student can actually make the emergency worse. Often times when parents get the information from their children, the incident has been blown out of proportion. When a major incident does occur in a school, the agency that needs to be informed first is the school district's security office and / or the local police department. Parents can sometimes get in the way of solving the problem, or they can make the situation worse by becoming part of the problem.
Sometimes parents tell the school that they need their child to have a cell phone in school so that their child can call them when school is out in order to pick them up. I do not understand this reason either because school is out at the same time every day. Why can not parents make transportation arrangements prior to the child coming to school that day? That just involves "communication" with their child. Parents should have also received a school calendar to notify them of half days, early dismissals and practices at the school. If no arrangements have been made, the school would probably be willing to allow the child to use the school phone to notify their parents as long as this practice is not abused. These procedures have been in place at most schools for a number of years.
It seems that parents want their children to have a cell phone in school just as much as the child wants the cell phone. Parents seem to want to contact their children any time of the day no matter what they – the child, are doing. At some point, parents need to allow their children to grow up and leave them alone while they are in school, so attending to the purpose of school. Parents need to respect the school and what it is trying to do for their children. In fact, the parents should be trying to support what the school is doing for their children. Most parents never had to deal with cell phone problems when they were in school because cell phones were not allowed or did not exist at the time of their formal education. Parents should ask themselves, did not have a cell when they were in school cause any major hardships for them?
When students come to school in today's society, they have a whole different attitude. Students seem to think they own the school, and they can do anything they please. If they do not agree with something in the building or have a dispute with another student, they just get on the phone and call their parents. What happened to the days when students had problems in schools and those concerns were taken to the adults in the school to be addressed? The problem (s) were handled in a professional way and students learned how to handle situations in a mature fashion. Students will continue to experience difficult situations through their lives and they will not always be able to call their parents for help. So I say to society, "what are we teaching our students today by allowing them to use cell phones in high school?"
The cell phone has taken on a whole new life of its own. When students come in a school building, the school staff often times have to interrupt their day to remind students to turn off their phones while in the building and put them away. Other problems occur in the building because of cell phones that also include students talking on the phones in the halls, restrooms or sometimes in the classes. Also, in the classroom, cell phones sometimes ring, due to someone not heeding the earlier warning, thus causing a disruption in class. Students also text each other while in class. The problems even get deeper if students use cell phones to text answers to questions on an exam to their friends. Major problems occur when students text friends or relatives outside the school to come and help them with an altercation. Some of these situations can be very taxing for the school and often cause serious injuries and / or arrests. All of these problems could have been avoided with the elimination of cell phones in schools.
The cell phone policy should be changed immediately allowing our schools to regain some kind of control over policies and procedures that directly affect them.
When we look at the many difficulties we have in our educational system, why should we add additional distractions? If our country is really serious about educating our children, the cell phone policies in our nation's schools should be reviewed and cell phones should be taken out of our high schools. This is not a step backward, but a step forward. There is a lot of support for cell phones to remain in our schools, but is there that same level of support for educating our children in a safe and secure environment?