As Clinton School District Bans Cell Phones in Classrooms, Regional Superintendents Discuss Their Approach

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By Isabelle Zarate

Cell phones, mini pocket computers that most people take with them wherever they go.

Need a calculator? Use your cell phone. Need to take a photo? Cellphone. What about making a call or sending an SMS? Cellphone. Need to search for something on the Internet? Yes, your phone can do that too.

There is no doubt that cell phones are useful, in fact they are so useful that almost everyone has one, including children.

For some families, phones are seen as a lifeline. First, they can reassure parents about where their children are. Or if a parent or child needs to communicate when they’re not together, phones ensure they can.

Many parents give their children phones to take to school, in case something happens or they need to get in touch with each other. The problem is not the accessibility of the phone, but rather the distraction that cell phones have to offer.

Most phones can be used for a number of things, including gaming, entertainment, and social media.

Recently, students have become the victims of distraction when they are supposed to be the beneficiaries of education.

Clinton Middle School just announced that starting next school year, phones and other personal devices will be banned from classrooms. This does not mean that in an emergency a student will not have access to their phone, it just means that in the classroom children will be held responsible for learning rather than scrolling through Tik Tok.

Unlike Clinton Middle School, for Homer’s K-8 students, “cell phones are [not] permitted at any time during the school day,” according to Superintendent Tom Davis.

Davis explained, “Before the first bell and after school, students can use them, but that’s all outside of the instructional day from 8 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.”

Although phone use is permitted, it is restricted.

“If a student uses their phone inappropriately before and after hours but still on our grounds or on a bus, including extracurricular activities, they will be disciplined, which usually starts with the phone being removed and collected by parents, the detention or Saturday school or suspension. for more serious offences. »

Davis explained that cell phone guidelines for high school students are a little different. For example, older students can use their phones before school, after school, and at lunchtime. However, most other guidelines still apply.

“We’ve had a few with multiple violations, and then the phone is kept at school until the parent meets with administration to retrieve the phone,” Davis said.

Overall, phones are not permitted during teaching hours for all grade levels unless permitted by a teacher or in special circumstances, but since the introduction of Chromebooks, phone use is less and less accepted.

St. Joseph Ogden High School Superintendent Brian Brooks discussed a different approach to students and cell phones.

“I will say cell phones (due to social media) in general are a problem for kids,” Brooks explained.

“We (schools, parents, etc.) cannot have a serious conversation about wanting to help children with mental health issues unless we are willing to discuss the impact that social media has on them.”

Rather than exploring the idea of ​​”banning” phones, Brooks thought it was more reasonable to see it as “breaking away” from phones.

“Kids (adults too) need to be able to detach themselves from their phones for periods of time. It’s too much for all of us,” Brooks explained.

“I can’t even imagine how it must be for children whose minds are not fully developed.”

As Brooks spoke more about mental health, he reflected on how social media potentially leads to a number of scenarios, including self-comparison, bullying, and even harassment.

“Mental health is a real issue for kids, and I think social media and cellphones are the biggest reason for that,” Brooks said. “It’s information overload for kids, and probably adults too for that matter.”

Brooks continued, “Kids probably can’t go five minutes (probably less than a minute realistically) without getting some sort of alert on their phone. This does not even take into account the issues of bullying or harassment that children face via social media.

Mahomet-Seymour and Oakwood Superintendents Larry Maynard and Lindsey Hall did not comment on the matter.

Although phones are considered to be one of man’s greatest inventions, they are not so considered ideal use for students in the classroom.

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