Can You Hear Me Now? It’s Me, Cell Phone!

March 25, 2011
By delly BRONZE, CH, New Jersey
delly BRONZE, CH, New Jersey
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Is it time for cell phones to be heard in schools?
“In order to solve a literal equation you must isolate the-” BANG. Every head in the classroom turns towards the noise. It is coming from down the hall. The sound is obviously a gun being fired. The teacher panics and faints on the spot. None of the students know how to use the puzzling dinosaur of a phone attached to the wall of the room. A girl screams. Heavy, clanking footsteps can be heard in the hallway. Closer and closer they approach until the doorknob begins to jiggle. Imagine that happening to you or your children. The students were blissfully unaware that a gunman was rampaging through the halls. The students were unprepared. No one outside the school knew that a life threatening situation was occurring in that school either. One student with one gun can kill countless people in a matter of twenty minutes or less. By the time authorities are alerted it is too late. Innocent children and adults are dead- unjustly murdered. If students had cellular phones in their possession then this catastrophe could have been nearly avoided. One call could have saved lives.

Malignantly, schools have chosen to ignore the fatal situation of a school shooting. Schools should not ban cell phones but instead require each student to have a cell phone in their possession at all times. Safety would not be the only improved factor in having cell phones implemented into a school curriculum. Students will also be taught proper cell phone etiquette which will serve them well for the rest of their lives. Plus, let’s face it, schools are behind the times. Schools lack new technology such as cell phones. Cell phones and other types of technology are the new ways of life. Integrating cell phone usage into schools is an encouraging step in the right direction.

Pursuing this issue further, 130 students and teachers lost their lives in school shootings since 2000 (“School Associated Violent Deaths and School Shootings”). In almost every case students were not allowed to have cell phones in their possession or use them at all on school grounds. How many lives could have been saved if students were able to alert the outside world as to what was going on inside? Take the tragedy at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado for example. On April 20th, 1999, twelve students and one teacher were murdered by the two perpetrators. Twenty more students were injured, some even paralyzed. The two gunmen had also committed suicide (Shepard). The media and the authorities would not have learned of the disaster so soon if it was not for students calling outside. The KUSA Denver news network was receiving calls from students trapped inside the building. They were able to alert the media, police, fellow students, and parents where they were hiding and where and what the gunmen were doing. The perpetrators were detonating bombs as well. These calls saved lives because students in the building knew where not to go and the S.W.A.T team arrived prepared. Those who oppose cell phone usage in schools might say that these coincidences are very rare. However, there are other safety issues that cell phone use will improve or eliminate. One common issue is “walkers”. These are students that can be as young as seven who walk to and from school. Do you realize how easy it is for a stranger in a car to drive up and grab a child from behind? It would be hours before anyone realized the child was missing. There is not a way to prevent something like this except to not have walkers, say those who do not approve of cell phone usage in schools. On the other hand, you can reduce the chance of this occurring or make the reaction to a disappearance of a child faster with the use of cell phones. There can be a service where students call in and tell the person on the other end- who would be a volunteer, parent, or older high school student- the time of their departure from home and the estimated walk time until they reach the school building. Then, once the student has arrived, and is safely inside the building, the student calls in again and alerts the service that they are safe (Toys to Tools, 106). If, for some reason, a student does not contact the service in a reasonable amount of time then the proper adults could be alerted immediately but not before calling the cell phone of the student to find out if they are safe. This increases the chance of the child being found and secured. Also, for younger students, they could stay on the phone the entire walking time with someone from this service. This would make the child feel safer and practically eliminate the possibility of a kidnapping. Why risk the safety of children? It is ridiculous to not include cell phones in the learning environment, especially if doing so would help fight the constant battle of inadequate child safety.

Without question, cell phones are ubiquitous in the world today. Cell phones are a great tool for learning and life- if they are used properly. Cell phones can also be an enemy to social civilization and can be a tool for rudeness. Yet these issues can be solved without doubt. School is where you learn and concepts are taught. You learn everything from mathematics to sports in public schools. So obviously it makes sense to teach proper cell phone usage in schools as well! The older generation complains that children do not know proper cellular phone etiquette. How many times have you been inside a movie theater and heard a phone ring or saw a teenager texting? The reason that teens are not taught how to use cell phones is because there is no one to teach them this. Parents did not grow up with cell phones so they also violate proper cell phone etiquette; therefore parents cannot teach their children how to properly use cell phones. So, who is left to teach these aspiring young adults the new ways of technology, if not the parents? The teachers are left. Teachers must be trained in cell phone usage before teaching a class on cell phones. It could be a class the same as art or music. There should be a class on cell phone etiquette and how to use cell phones in school. Society will suffer greatly if students are not taught when, how, and where to use cell phones. People will no longer feel the need for face to face contact. There will just be texting and calling. That is not the ideal way for the future adults to behave. Students will be taught when appropriate times to use their phones are, and when it is best to let the person calling them go to voicemail. Like anything else, too much cell phone use is not healthy either. If proper cell phone use was taught in schools students would not feel the need to use their phone excessively after school and instead use it limitedly, reminiscent of what they are taught to do in school. Overall, everyone will benefit when cell phone etiquette is taught in schools.

Despite the fact that technology commands the future generation, schools lack adequate technology. Most schools do not have enough computers for each student to use. In the adult world computers and smart phones are a huge part of life. Schools are slowly beginning to become more high tech. They have gone from chalk boards to white boards and now SmartBoards. Yet this is not enough. Schools need more technology. Cell phones would increase the amount of technology in schools and keep the schools up to date. Everyone wants their school to be modern and have the latest fads. If your school does not have cell phones then your school is definitely not up to date. It is extremely important for a school to have the proper technology. Schools with advanced technology tend to better than schools who lack this technology. Eventually schools will have to allow cell phone use and integrate them into the school curriculum because they will become such a key part of life that it will be impossible to learn properly without them. Cell phones will become as vital a part of school life as computers are now. Cell phones are the new computers! Prior generations thought that having computers in every class room was a ridiculous idea, but today it is an essential part of learning. Cell phones can be a tool for teachers as well. Teachers can use cell phones to help teach material. Most phones have cameras now. Teachers can assign projects that involve videotaping or taking pictures. This can be useful in classes such as art or science. In art class if you have a picture of the object you are drawing it is easier to draw. For science class you could take a video of a science experiment that you are not able to do in the school building but instead do at home and can then share at school. Cell phones are pieces of technology that are needed in the classroom.

Those who condone cell phone bans in schools have feeble arguments to support their opinion. In the 1990s schools banned wireless technology such as cell phones. They did this because cell phones were associated with illegal drug trade (“Milestones in the History of Cellular Telephones”). This may have made sense back then but today this is not so. Today, any type of technology can be used for illegal purposes. Does this mean you ban all technology from schools? Of course not! We must embrace the fact that for every positive there is a negative effect. In this case the positively clearly out weighs the negative. Another argument against cell phones in school may be that cell phones will be used inappropriately by students. This is obviously not going to happen if students are taught proper cell phone etiquette. Plus, any tool can be used inappropriately. Paper can be used to write insults on just the same that a cell phone can be used to text insults to other students, nevertheless no one is banning paper from schools. Some teachers also disagree with cell phone use. Teachers who say that cell phones are “not necessary in the classroom, and they interfere with instruction. [Cell phones] definitely infringe on the learning environment and are a distraction.” (Aristone) are stuck in the dark ages of teaching. This teacher obviously does not agree with cell phone use in the classroom. Nonetheless, the same teacher admitted that she has “been teaching for quite sometime, and [she has] not had any incidents with inappropriate use of cell phones in the class room”. What does this have to do with anything? Well, when teenagers are told not to do something, obviously there is a higher chance of them doing whatever it is that is prohibited. However, students were specifically told that they could not have cell phones in this particular class and they listened to what they were told. Of course students could disobey the rules right now and use their cell phone in class but they do not so this means that teenagers do have self control in some respects. This must mean that students can be trusted with cell phones in the classroom. It is clear that any argument against cell phones is not dependable. There are more reasons to have cell phones integrated into schools then to not do this.

“In order to solve -” SLAM. A student springs out of his seat, his chair falling backwards. “I just got a text from my friend upstairs, there is an armed student heading our way” the teenager announces to the shocked class. The teacher immediately springs into action and organizes the students. They lock the door immediately and turn off the lights. They huddle into the corner of the room, out of view from the window. The students are sending warning texts to their friends and families and someone has already called the police. The students are confident that none of their friends will be hurt because the warning is out that there is danger in the building. Sirens can be heard in the distance. When the approaching footsteps come and the doorknob is jiggled the door stays shut. There was no sound of gun shots.

Do you see now what huge differences cell phones can make? Cell phones can save lives. Who would not want to save a life? Cell phones are tools not toys. They are an important part of the world today and need to be integrated into schools learning environment. As has been noted, cell phones are incontrovertibly needed in the classroom. Some may think of cell phones as a toy and a distraction. As said before, these people could not be more erroneous. If students learned proper cell phone etiquette then they will learn skills that will be used for the rest of their lives. Cell phones can keep a school up to date with the latest technology. No one wants a school stuck in the past! The next time you are asked if you think cell phones should be integrated into the classroom think about the bigger picture. Sure, cell phones have their highs and lows, but without cell phones there are only lows. Every student should be required to carry a cell phone with them at all times for those reasons. Cell phone usage in school is a momentous step in the right direction.

The author's comments:
School assignment...enjoy!

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