07/15/09 — Texting a no-no: Board of Education is right; keep cell phones, iPods for bus

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Texting a no-no: Board of Education is right; keep cell phones, iPods for bus

Remember the good old days when if a parent wanted to get a message to a student, it had to go through the school office?

Remember the days when you weren't able to bring anything that even resembled a compact disc player, radio or anything like that into school at all?

The Wayne County Board of Education took a courageous and absolutely justified step this week when board members decided to put in tough new rules about students and electronic devices in school.

Basically, the new rules say that if you are in school, your cell phone or MP3 player or iPod is off. And if you are caught with it on, you could lose it for a very long time and spend some time at home thinking about why you should be paying attention in class instead of sending a text to your buddy.

The measure became necessary because so many students seem to be taking advantage of the privilege of carrying these devices and using them inappropriately and while they should be doing schoolwork.

And there are the other little consequences of teenagers with electronic devices and access to the Internet -- inappropriate videos on YouTube -- a problem that is affecting schools and families nationwide.

So, the decision to get rid of the devices in Wayne County while class is in session is one of many steps the district could attribute to improving grades and test scores. Taking away one more distraction to the real purpose of being at school sure couldn't hurt.

But be prepared. This is not going to sit well with everyone. There will be many parents who will see the cell phone policy as limiting -- creating a problem with them communicating with their children.

To that argument, the school board should say "baloney."

If you need to get a message to a child, there is a school secretary who can accept the call, jot down the message and make sure it gets to the child -- probably more efficiently than getting a teenager to actually process and remember what time his or her dentist appointment is anyway.

And if there is ever a real emergency of cataclysmic proportion -- the students will still have their cell phones, ready to use.

Parents need to process, understand and support this new measure.

In addition to reminding children that they are at school to learn, it might also encourage them to think about the most efficient use of cell phones in other situations -- like not when they are driving a car.

The board should be commended for doing the right thing -- even if it might not be the most popular.

Published in Editorials on July 15, 2009 11:00 AM