I see no reason why any schoolchild should have need for a cellular phone while in school. For what possible reason does a child need a cell phone while in school?
Over the past few days I have been soliciting the views of children as to the need for this device. Most of them that I have spoken to, not surprisingly, indicated that a cellular phone is very much necessary, but very few could articulate convincing arguments in support of their contention.
One of the main reasons given is that in case of an emergency, they can call their parents. I asked one child how often such emergencies arise and was told that there are always emergencies.
School life must be becoming more dangerous for there to be emergencies all the time. I have never had an emergency at school, which required me to leave school to go home, and of the hundreds of children that were my classmates there was never any emergency, which could not have been resolved without the use of a telephone.
In fact, there were no telephones in those days.
Many schools have telephones and even if there is none, some teacher can always have access to a telephone to make a call in case of an emergency. Children therefore should not have to take a cell phone to school because of an emergency.
In addition, having such phones on their person attracts the attention of those who may wish to deprive the children of their valued possession. Many school children have been robbed of their cell phones.
Another reason given by students is that they have to attend lessons and they need the cell phones to call taxis or to let their parents know where they are. These kids today must be rich to be going to lessons with taxis and certainly if they are required to go to lessons, and do so, their parents would not need to contact them to confirm this.
The cell phone has its uses. But it has passed the point where it creates marginal efficiencies. It does, however, provide some conveniences in contacting persons wherever they may be, but I doubt whether the increased utility this provides is offset by the cost involved.
Cell phones are a fashion fad. Many persons have because it is in vogue and they feel they should have it. It is just like the fancy footwear, which children used to wear at one time to school and which caused so many problems.
Poor children felt ashamed that they could not afford these expensive footwear, which were being displayed by their peers and this created a lot of pressure on the children, so much so that one child killed herself because her parents mistakenly purchased the wrong brand of shoes for her.
The rat race over who has the latest or more expensive cell phones is also a problem today. Some kids want the latest and most expensive phones simply because they do not wish to have their friends laugh at them in school.
This creates its own pressures and even forces some children to demand more than their parents can afford.
For this reason alone, the ban on cell phones in schools is fully justified. It will cause the same problems as occurred when children were allowed to wear whatever footwear they pleased.
Those who could have afforded the brand name shoes sported these and the other kids felt pressured to keep up. This is not good for the school environment.
Cell phones are also distractive. And this is one of the main reasons why they are outlawed from the classroom.
I can understand the distraction that can be caused if in the middle of a class a cell phone rings.
The phones can also be distractive outside of the classroom. One child told me that she used her phone to call one of her friends within the same school, but only during the lunch periods or after school.
That constitutes wasted time because why would you have to use a cell phone to call another student in another class.
All those schools, which have therefore banned cell phones, are in order. Students should not have cell phones in their possession. There is no need for them within the school.
It is however wrong to expel a child for the possession of a cell phone. There are ways to punish a child for a cell phone other than expulsion. The phone may be seized and returned to the parents at the end of the week or at the end of the term.
But no child deserves to be expelled because of the possession of a cell phone.
A great deal of harm is done to a child who is expelled and when one is thus considering such punishment, one should also consider the possible mental and emotional damage which can be done to the child.
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