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Cell Phones in High School: The Text Best Thing?

Let's say you're a high school teacher. It's a noble calling, shaping young minds. Some young minds defy shaping, however. There are places those minds would rather be than at a desk in a classroom.

There is little they can do about this, stuck in their bodies as their brains are. However, even though they can't physically leave the classroom, they can mentally leave it. They can take their mind somewhere else by just turning on their cell phone and texting a friend.

This is why the use of cell phones is forbidden in most area public schools. Students can't pay attention to the teacher when they're tapping out a text or reading one. But now the student member of Montgomery County's school board is suggesting students be allowed to text during lunch.

This sounds entirely reasonable. Family lives are so complicated now that parents and children need to be in touch. Do you have rehearsal after school? Can you pick me up? Who's taking the dog for a walk? Yes, we somehow used to be able to answer these questions without instant communication but now we rely on it.

Not so fast, say school officials. Allowing lunch-time texting would be a slippery slope. Soon kids will be texting all day long.

It sounds as if some already are. Now, that's not a good reason for opening the floodgates. (See: "If everybody jumped off a cliff would that make it all right?") But this seems like a teachable moment. The lesson? When a teacher is teaching you owe him or her your complete attention. Texting is not allowed. During lunch, you may text.

If kids can't figure that out, take their phones away.

By John Kelly  |  June 1, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
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I agree with you.

The students are proposing only using their cell phones during lunch. Do you think that if they aren’t allowed to use their cell phones they will use that time to study? Unless lunchtime has changed that drastically in the 23 years since I attended High School, I don’t think these kids will be reviewing algebra equations in the cafeteria.

These kids are allowed to legally get behind the wheel of a vehicle but they aren’t allowed to use a cell phone during lunch? That doesn’t seem right. Teach them actions and consequences. Give them the opportunity to abide by the rules and then STRICTLY enforce the policy of no electronic devices outside of the cafeteria. Don’t give in to the screaming parent who threatens to call the school board because you “stole” Johnny’s cell phone when he was five feet outside of the cafeteria placing a call to his pediatrician to get a refill on his much needed asthma medication (yeah…right!). Let them learn that if they don’t obey the regulations they will have the device taken away. Period.

Posted by: wmayhan1 | June 1, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

there is a huge disconnect between public high school rules/regulations and college. How do we expect our kids to be successful in college if we treat them like 10yr olds up until their 18. Then we tell them to grow up in the 2-3 months between graduation and freshman year of college. Let them text. If they miss wrk, it is their responsibility.

Posted by: WordontheStreet | June 1, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss something? Is Where in Washington toast?

Posted by: Southwester | June 1, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Good points all.

@Southwester: Sorry, Where in Washington? is taking a little break. I need to get me some new images.

Posted by: JohnFKelly | June 1, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

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