Having a Cell Phone at School Is not a Constitutional Right
Topic: Leadership Issues
I'm a couple of days behind on this, but the NY State Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that students do not have a constitutional right to have cell phones at school and parents do not have a constitutional right to expect that their children should be allowed to have a cell phone at school. The decision did include a statement that it is reasonable for schools to ban disruptive devices.
I'm of two minds with this. The digital immigrant in me is amazed me that elementary age children have cell phones at all. I raised two kids who managed to get into high school before a cell phone became a must-have accessory. Even then, taking them to school was not an option. By the same token, I didn't raise my children in post 9-11 New York City and realize that I might have a completely different view of connectivity if I were. I cannot imagine how I would feel about being able to reach my children 24/7 under those circumstances. So while I understand that teachers do not want their classes disrupted by cell phones, I also think that parents' concerns need to be honored.
I think that cell phones may be the chewing gum of the 21st century. They're easy to conceal, ubiquitous, and it may be that no matter how many rules and regulations educators establish, they will find that a cell phone ban is impossible to enforce. And unlike gum, as cell phones become increasing sophisticated there are ways they can be used as tools for teaching and learning.
This is a starfish vs. spider situation. If you don't know what I'm referring to, check out this link and consider reading the book. There are ways we could be dealing with this that don't involve absolute bans and might actually be productive.
So...I'm thinking that we need to reevaluate our stand on this technology in schools. While I think it's unrealistic to ban them completely, I believe that rules for usage can be established and enforced.
Technorati Tags: Starfish and Spider, school administrators, Susan Brooks-Young, cellphones
Posted by sjbrooks_young
at 11:01 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007 11:04 AM PDT