Should Cell Phones Be Allowed in Schools?

Professor: Larocca
English 1102
13 July 2015

Should Cell Phones Be Allowed in Schools?
Picture this, there has been a school lockdown, the suspect cut the landlines so no one could call the police for a rescue. However, the suspect was captured by the police much faster than he imagined. The last scene wouldn’t have happened if it was one decade ago, because cell phones were not popular in schools then. When it comes to cell phones, some people think they should not be permitted in schools, and other people think they should be permitted in schools. I agree with the latter opinion for the following reasons: Cell phones are an efficient way to communicate when emergencies occur in school; cell phones can be a great tool for learning during school hours; and the current prohibitive rules on cell phones are merely fruitless efforts. Cell phones should be permitted in schools, because they could be very beneficial and practical in schools.
Cell phones could be a life-saver in the case of an emergency. In New York, a violent incident has taken place. Fortunately, timely communication from a student using a cell phone saved a man who desperately needed medical attention ("Cell Phones in the Classroom”). Another student has assisted the police to arrest the suspect by giving timely updates of the criminal scene using a cell phone in the school lockdown. In fact, many school districts have decided to lift the ban on the use of cell phones in school because of “the role cell phones have played in some emergency situations” ("Cell Phones in the Classroom” ). Moreover, parents could be easily in touch with their children, know their whereabouts through mobile communication, and therefore it would allay parents’ concerns (Cohen). For instance, lots of parents have claimed that they have to stay in touch with their children in case of “another crisis like 9/11” ("Cell Phone Debate"). It is indisputable the fact that cell phones could be a straw to clutch in possible emergencies occurring in school.
Many people believe that bringing cell phones to school may cause distractions. However, a recent study leads more and more people to believe that mobile phones could in fact be a “powerful learning tool” (Docksai), serving as a mobile computer ("Cell Phones in the Classroom” ). Elizabeth Hartnell- Young, a research fellow from the University of Nottingham tracked 331 students from 14 to 16 years old, for learning through cell phones. They used cell phones to make short videos, set homework reminders, record poems, and transfer files from home to school. Students described their learning experience as “motivated”. Many experts pointed out that students have a “deep comfort level” with mobile phones. In other words, students could learn more if they enjoyed what they were doing. A great number of teachers have switched their point of view towards cell phones, many now believe that cell phones would boost positive effects on education. For example, some teachers have already started to collect homework online and answer questions through text- messaging. A school in Saskatchewan encouraged students to read and share thoughts about books through their cell phones. Furthermore, according to a recent survey, the majority of students could refrain from using cell phones and not be distracted by them in class. In fact, over 71% of students didn’t check their text messages during class time (Burns and Kevin). Bert Wiens, the experienced principal of R.C Palmer Secondary school asserted that “most students use their cell phones responsibly” from his daily observations (Khan). There is no denying the fact that cell phones could serve as “powerful learning tools” in school.
Some school officials believe that the simple prohibition on use of cell phones in schools is a deterrent. However, is it really the case? It must be admitted that the measures school have on banning cell phones are useless. Many surveys show that the number of cell phone users in high school has kept increasing even when cell phones were banned from schools ("Calling Cell Phone…”). One- third of 13- to- 18- year- olds in the United States regularly use cell phones ("Calling Cell Phone…”), even if cell phones are banned in most of the schools. The number of students