Debate Continues on Cell Phone Use in Schools

Goodrich School Board in Michigan has approved a cell phone pilot program which would allow students to use their mobile devices before and after school and during lunch times.

Goodrich High School Principal Stephanie O'Dea said the new policy acknowledges that the students are living in an age of technology and it gives them the appropriate time to use their phones, where before they simply always had to be off and out of sight.

The pilot program will begin April and makes Goodrich High School part of a small, but growing, number of local schools with similar programs. The board vote was 6-1 in favor with Chip Schulz left as the lone dissenter.

Schulz said he is worried the new policy would open the doors for students to use their phones even more during classtime for texting or using the Internet.

"I just see it as a disruption in the classroom. … What would be the full purpose of allowing a student to use a phone during the passing time and at lunch time? Their friends are already at school,"

O'Dea pointed out that it's often the child's parents who are texting them during school hours and allowing the children an appropriate time to check for these messages will result in less in-class violations and disruptions.

This assessment is borne out by research from app developer textPlus that suggest two-thirds of students receive text messages from their parents during school and that parents are glad to have the ability to contact their children, and vice versa, in case of emergency or forgotten appointments.

As one mother said:

"I think I use texting during the school day way more than they do — if my schedule changes, or I can't pick someone up … the lack of pay phones pretty much dictated getting that first kids' cell phone years ago."

03 30, 2012
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