May 13, 2010. The Washington Post. Prince George’s County (Maryland) schools has proposed a ban on cellphones at school, namely, turned off and in the lockers. Issues still being finalized are how it will apply to teachers. Other schools are loosening bans.
Whether to ban cellphones on campus is, believe it or not, a growing controversy:
The pros: cut down on distractions from constant texting, control over electronic cheating, hopefully minimize cellphone based cyberbullying (although cyberbullying apparently has no respect for school boundaries or time of day), etc.
The cons: parents are often surprizingly vehemently opposed (can’t reach their kids when it is convenient for mom and dad), kids live increasingly complicated lives and need to be in communication with siblings, coaches, nannies, rides, etc., concerns about loss of civility regarding texting while being spoken to, etc. Also, most schools got rid of pay phones several years ago — what is a student to do?
But some are looking at the larger issues that, if this generation is “always on” and this is how they think and communicate very differently than prior generations, are there ways to stop fighting it and make a place for cellphones in the classroom as a teaching tool rather than as a distraction? This is the approach at Inkster Public Schools in Michigan. See also our prior blog on whether increased texting and cellphone use among teens affects social skills.
We will keep you posted as more schools weigh in. What does your school do about cell phones: firstname.lastname@example.org