Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cell Phone Pragmatism

In a move that will surprise many, New York City's teachers union supports students having cell phones at school as long as the ring-tones don't disturb class:
Citing the safety concerns of parents, the 100-member executive board of the teachers union voted unanimously last night to back lifting the cell phone ban in city schools.

Students should be able to carry the phones - but not use them in class, the union said.

"We agree with the prohibition of cell phone use in buildings, but we need to have a balance," said Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers. "This is a typical situation where the people who abuse cell phones ruin it forthe kids and parents who need it."

A ban on phone-toting students has been on the books for more than 10 years, but cops recently stepped up enforcement.

More than 200 phones were confiscated last week when random scanning for the devices began in high schools.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has said the no-phone rule is necessary because some students use the phones to text-message one another answers on tests, arrange for gang fights after school or take pictures in locker rooms with camera phones.
In our own California junior high school, we've had an unofficial "don't ask, don't tell" cell phone policy for years.

If the phone is seen on campus or goes off in the classroom, we send the offending device to the office where parents can pick it up. Seems to work for us.
Contributions for this week's edition of The Carnival Of Education are due tonight. Get submission info here; see our latest education-related entries over there.