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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 05/14/2010

Cellphones in school: a public safety issue

By washingtonpost.com editors
LOCAL BLOG NETWORK
Once again, a heavy hand is making an appearance in Prince George’s County at the expense of students in the school system. In the 1990s, it was a teen curfew. Later, it was school uniforms. This time, there is talk of greatly restricting access to cellphones. Instead of teaching students the appropriate time to use a cellphone, the Prince George's school board would rather make students lock them up during the school day. It appears the school board needs a reminder of why cellphone bans like this are a bad idea.

I am a product of the Prince George’s schools, graduating from High Point High School in 1999 -- the year the country's worst high school shooting took place in Littleton, Col. Cellphones were not as common then. If they had been, I imagine some of the hysteria that accompanied that tragedy, especially from parents, could have been alleviated.

Given Columbine, and then Virginia Tech, keeping cellphones from students is public safety issue. It's laughable to hear board member Donna Hathaway Beck (At Large) argue that students need to be focused on academics while in school; it's been clear for years that the school board itself needs to focus on academics. In 2007, instead on focusing on how to improve the system, the members were concerned about stripping voting rights from the student member of their board.

Instead of taking the time and expense to enforce a ban on cellphones during school hours, a more productive approach would be for the board to institute a policy of teaching students the proper time and place to use their cellphones.

Kenny Burns blogs at Maryland Politics Today. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | May 14, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Prince George's County  
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Comments

Mr. Burns, with this action, the schools would teach kids about the proper time to use cell phones. Because the proper time is NOT during school. Tragedies occur rarely, distractions occur daily.

Should our schools teach children when it is proper to chew gum too?

Posted by: Greent | May 14, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Mr Burns- Have you been in a High School lately? If you have, you probably were literally run into by a student texting away with no concern to the world around them. As a local teacher I think what PG is doing is a wise move.

Posted by: ccm74 | May 16, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

You embarass yourself in saying,"It's laughable to hear board member Donna Hathaway Beck (At Large) argue that students need to be focused on academics while in school.."

How much clearer can the school system be "for the board to institute a policy of teaching students the proper time and place to use their cellphones."?

Is 'during school hours' too confusing for you?

Posted by: member8 | May 16, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Burns,when you were in high school students had respect for adults. Students today want to be respected, but don't give respect. To encounter a student about a cell phone or wearing a hat in the building only leads to turmoil.Then one has to deal with a parent. Who most of the time will come to the school to argue about a phone or a hat and never come to argue about academics or attendance. Something has to be done now. Especially now, when our babies are brining cell phones to elementary schools. i take my hat off to the Board for finally stepping up about cell phones.

Posted by: Thomashearts | May 17, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

It is clear that you have not taught in a secondary school within the past five years for even a single day. When students are permitted to have cell phones with them in class, it is virtually impossible to keep them from using their cell phones in class. Most will use them there only for texting, but some are so brazen that they will sit in class conversing on the phone.
This is a distraction from the studies on which they should be concentrating. And, does it make it any better to allow students to avoid focusing on learning by making the snarky remark you made about the Board of Ed. not being so focused? I don't think so.

Posted by: jrsposter | May 17, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Parents don't seem to be able to instill and discipline or respect in their kids. Kids see school as just a distraction intheir oh so important social lives. If kids would just turn them off or at least not actively talk and text during class, then maybe this wouldn't be needed. Teachers cannot spend the entire lesson confiscating phone from those whose still can't put them down. That is not fair to the students who actually want to learn in school.

Posted by: schnauzer21 | May 17, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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