Should Students Be Barred From Taking Cellphones to School?

What is your school’s policy regarding cellphones? Do you take a phone to school? Has your cell-phone helped or hurt your learning?

New York City will be ending its longstanding ban on cellphones in public schools. For years the city ar-gued that cellphones had no place in schools, and that they disrupted student learning. Many parents coun-tered that cellphones were a vital link to their children.

Should students be allowed to take cellphones to school?

In the article “With School Ban Nearing End, New York City Works on How and When to Allow Cellphones,” Motoko Rich and Kate Taylor write:

As New York prepares to lift its longstanding ban on cellphones carried by students in schools, it joins an increasing number of cities, including Chicago and Miami, where school leaders are yielding to the ubiquity of mobile phones and the futility of trying to keep them out of the classroom.

In an era when many parents want constant access to their children and students live in a digital social mi-lieu, banning cellphones from schools is increasingly seen as counterproductive. And teachers are experi-menting with technology and finding that the miniature computers many students carry in their pockets can be valuable classroom tools.

Schools are trying out various policies, with some permitting students to use their phones only during breaks or at lunch. Others are encouraging students to bring cellphones to school, where teachers invite them to conduct web searches or view educational videos. Even in districts with bans in place, educators realize they cannot stop students from using their phones.

“I don’t think it’s going to be very long before it becomes very standard” for schools to allow all students to carry cellphones, said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Ad-ministrators. “I think the horse is pretty much out of the barn in general.”

In New York, after years of tolerating a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in some schools while practicing strict enforcement in others, the Education Department is working out the details of how and when to allow phones in schools.

Students: Read the entire article, then tell us …

– Should students be allowed to take cellphones to school? Or should cellphones be banned in schools, as New York City has officially done for several years?
– What is your school’s policy regarding cellphones? Do you take a phone to school? Has your cellphone helped or hurt your learning?
– Do you think cellphones are a distraction in school? Do students look at their phones instead of paying attention in class? Do you ever see students using phones to cheat? Do phones foster unhealthy social drama, or even bullying, in school?
– On the other hand, do students ever use their phones as a learning tool in school? For example, to do re-search, as a calculator, video camera or notetaking device?
– Is it important that parents and students can communicate with each other via celllphone during the school day? Why?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment below. Please use only your first name. For privacy policy reasons, we will not publish student comments that include a last name.