Thursday, February 10, 2011
Banning Cells In School Would Inhibit Schools In Fulfilling Their Mission
My stomach turned yesterday morning as I heard a radio newscaster mentioning discussions in Boston by some of our lawmakers regarding a ban of cellphones in schools. I decided that I would revise our school's mission statement to what it would need to be if this type of legislation were passed (see above).
It is my opinion that we would not be able to teach our students to be fully responsible citizens if there is not a huge technological component integrated into our teaching. Teaching students to use technological devices, including cellphones, responsibly is part of our what is entailed in teaching responsible citizenship in this day and age. In fact, I would add (without any intended offense to parents) that if the school is not teaching responsible use of technological devices then the students will be missing this crucial portion of their education totally because things have changed so dramatically for parents since they were in school.
Not to mention the fact that there are countless constructive uses for cellphones in school. I have written about this topic in the past on a couple of occasions:
Mobile Technology - A Wealth of Possibilities (and some logistical problems) - January 2009
Cellphone Learning - Not an Oxymoron - October 2009
Cellphones in the Classroom Are Adding Value - November 2009
If we are going to stop bullies, we need a better plan. Bullies were present in schools and in society well before the presence of cellphones. While I understand that cellphones and technological gadgets allow a potential bully easier access to their victims, I do not believe that a mandate to turn off these devices in schools will change the behavior of students who intend to harass or bully. They will simply wait until after school hours.
We need to continue to create caring environments in our schools that make clear that tolerance of all students is at the top of our priority list. We need to have this discussion with parents and talk about the expectations we have for the students in our schools and what we want them to be capable of when they exit our doors.
Taking away something from the majority for the actions of a minority is never the answer.