Should Cell Phones be Banned from Schools?

In a society where almost everyone over the age of thirteen carries a cell phone, pager, or both, many school systems have banned these items from school grounds. Why? Many say it’s due to the ‘potential problems’, such as texting during classes. Others say it is because they interrupt the learning environment. Whatever the reason the school boards give, should cell phones really be banned from school premises? In a day and age where everyone relies heavily upon modern technology for communication, cell phones are a good thing to have, especially for high school students.

Many students have after-school activities, such as a sport or a club that they participate in after school hours, when most people, including the office staff, have already gone home for the day. The students need a way to contact their parents during and after these activities, and vice versa. If cell phones were banned from school grounds, even just during school hours, how would the kids contact their parents afterwards? With only one or two phones in the office or on a coach, having thirty or more students per activity coming in to use the phone one after the other is just ridiculous. It would take hours, something that would take minutes overall if the kids each had their own cell phone. Many adults are worried that during a crisis, students having cell phones is a safety hazard. How? If the board is worried that all of the students would be calling 911 at the same time and clogging up the line, what is the difference between a thousand kids and two thousand hysterical parents? If they are worrying about rumors getting out of control by way of texting or calling, why not just tell the kids what’s going on rather than leave them in the dark to come up with their ridiculous theories? In my opinion, it actually provides a certain amount of safety.

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Parents may call their children and can know where they are, instead of them worrying whether the teen is at a friends house or out walking the streets with a gang after school. The board, principals, and teachers alike are concerned that if cell phones are allowed in school, there will be problems with texting in class. My solution to this is to make a rule that says cell phones have to be off and put away during school hours. If a student is caught texting in class, have the teacher take up the phone for the rest of the day, or maybe even until the next day. This seems like a reasonable compromise, because that way the kids are still able to contact whoever they need to after school, but are free from distractions during the day.

As with the rule that bans the students from chewing gum in school, how is the school really supposed to enforce the banning of cell phones? Students will continue to bring phones to school regardless of whether or not it’s against the rules. Honestly, I think at least a few students bring their phones because it’s against the rules. The recent search at West High School, where over six hundred phones were taken up plus an unidentified number of iPods and the like despite the fact that electronic devices are banned from the grounds, only proves my point. Six hundred phones is over half the school! Cell phones, while they might seem like nothing but a distraction and a safety hazard for school across the country, are in actuality quite the opposite. Banning cell phones from the school premises will only ever have detrimental effects.

As long as there is a sensible rule in place, such as ‘Students are required to leave cell phones off and out of sight during school hours’, there is no chance of distractions or of safety hazards because of them. After all, there’s probably more of a chance a kid will trip and fall than the chance or a cell phone being a distraction when it’s turned off, isn’t there?