Cell Phones, Texting, School Safety, and Discipline

Posted by on December 8, 2010

There is no constitutional right for students to have cell phones in schools.

This is one of several points I made in an interview for a Fox News Channel national story earlier this week entitled, “Zero Tolerance for Classroom Texters.”

The peg for the story is a Benicia High School (California) policy where school administrators confiscate cell phones after repeated misuse by students who are made well aware of the policy.  Some parents and students are upset with the policy.  Some argue cell phones make students safer in schools.

As I indicated in my comments in the story video, the key word is “repeat offender.” It is hard to have much sympathy for whining students and parents when students, who already know the policy, repeatedly violate it.

But the bigger point goes to the issue of the impact of student cell phone use on school safety and emergency response in a crisis.  Cell phones and text messaging in a crisis can accelerate rumors, expedite parental flocking to the school, and impede effective emergency response by first responders.

These concerns are expanded upon in my web page on Cell Phones and Text Messaging in Schools

What makes people feel safer may not actually help them be safer.  School officials therefore need to have deeper and more comprehensive discussions on the impact of cell phones in school safety.  It is important for school leaders to make cognitive, not emotional, policy decisions. 

What say you?

Ken Trump

Visit School Security Blog at:  http://www.schoolsecurityblog.com

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