One West Texas School Has Us Asking; Should Students Have Phones?
The issue of students, teens, kids, children, people-who-have-yet-to-graduate-high-school- and-move-out-of-our-houses using cellphones at school has been a hotly debated one for a while.
The West Texas High School in Stinnett just decided to go all out and ban cellphones entirely.
Why Did They Ban Cell Phones In Stinnett?
"Student behavior" is the reason cited in a social media post for The West Texas High School that announced the ban. Honestly, I can understand that.
It's no secret, and I talk about it frequently on-air, that my wife and I have limited our children's time in front of a screen. The reason why was attitude and behavior.
Our routine is now built around us all doing things together as a family once we're home. The kids do their homework and play while I get ready to start cooking, and then they help cook dinner.
After dinner is over, we clean up and then sit down in the living room to watch a little TV before bed time. The difference in attitudes and behavior has been incredibly positive, and screen time is almost non-existent during the week.
Arguments In Favor Of The Ban
Many parents are excited to see the ban in hopes that it will somehow help students focus more on their education, and remedy some behavioral problems.
Personally, I don't know that it is going to be a magic cure-all. I didn't pay attention in class, was voted "Class Clown" three years in a row, and didn't have a phone to help me do any of it.
There are other issues that I can think of off the top of my head that I could see this eliminating that would be beneficial. Students would just have to go back to passing hand written notes to cheat on a test; or write the answers on a pencil or the top of their shoe (I honestly saw that one work one time).
School Work Instead Of Selfies
There would be no more sitting on social media instead of paying attention in class. Now students just have to whisper back and forth...or pass hand written notes.
Of course there are also more nefarious things that would be eliminated with a ban on cell phones, but there are also the drawbacks that have to be considered...
Arguments Against The Ban
On the Facebook post regarding the decision, there's only a handful of posts disagreeing with the ban. They bring up the most obvious drawback to the ban, and it's one my wife brought up.
Getting in touch with your child, or your child getting in touch with you.
A school shooting has, once again, made national headlines. In a situation like that, the ability of a student to make a phone call to a parent, or the authorities, is one we would like for them to have.
There's really no guarantees that a situation like that is going to play out according to the training educators have received.
Sometimes, You Have To Prove Your Case
Also, and not meaning to suggest that this would ever apply to educators at Stinnett, there have been numerous times where things were not as they should be in a classroom, and thanks to a student having their phone they were able to document what was happening and proper actions were taken.
Tech Is Just A Part Of Our Life Now
We do live in the year 2021. Many of our jobs incorporate the use of apps (I've lost count at this point), or using our phone in one way or another.
The phone is always on us. Learning how to navigate responsibilities while using tech might not be the worst thing ever.
Maybe The Answer Isn't A Black Or White One, But Maybe It's In The Gray Areas
The more I thought about this and how I would feel if it affected one of my children, the more I thought that the answer isn't a clear cut one.
While yes, I agree that students using cellphones during class can be distracting, I also want my child to be able to reach me during an emergency; no matter what.
Is It Just Kids Being Kids
Part of the problem is kids being kids. School sucks. We all felt that way about it while we were there. As a kid you'd rather be anywhere else doing almost anything else.
If it's not phones, it's hand written notes. If it isn't hand written notes, it's doodling in a notebook hoping time speeds up.
Congrats to The West Texas High School on taking bold action that they think will work. I hope it is everything you are hoping it will be. I'm sure whatever caused this decision was as drastic as the action being taken.
I wonder if other schools and districts will take their lead on this.