by Michelle Ciampa
Phones weren’t the only thing buzzing last Wednesday as administrators began to confiscate students’ cell phones for using them in the hallway...or simply holding them. Administrators gave several morning announcements explaining the rules about cell phone use in the hallway, expressing a concern for student safety. However, despite the explanation about the need to keep students safe, many still wondered what exactly brought this on
Texting while crossing the street is a valid safety concern; a texting pedestrian is 25 percent more likely to be hit by a car, according to uab.edu. But there are no cars driving around the WHS halls. Safety doesn’t seem like a strong enough reason to take phones away.
Despite the announcements, there was confusion about the rules because the policies that were announced differed from those in the WHS Student Handbook. The handbook states, “Students may not text, make or receive phone calls while in hallways, offices, or bathrooms.” The rules enforced by administrators that day expanded cell phone usage to include looking at the phone in any way. While I understand the need for student safety, the enforcment went overboard: Holding phones or checking the time, for example, should not have been cause for phone confiscation.
If a student was reading a newspaper, book, or doing last-minute homework in the halls, would an administrator take those materials away?
In this generation, cell phones are a way for people to connect with one another. However, cell phones also hold informative, valuable tools. With only five minutes to travel to class, and no clocks in the halls, checking the time is a necessity. In addition, listening to music for five minutes between classes can destress students.
Without a phone, it is difficult to figure out your ride home from school, e-mail your teachers, communicate with your parents, or find out what is happening at practice after school. Cell phones have evolved from a way to make phone calls to holding our entire lives. And yes, you could make the argument that we are too dependent on our phones, but that is really a parent’s call. When my mom tells me that I am on my phone too much, that’s fair. But a school is overstepping its bounds when making judgments about personal phone use.
I am not in agreement with the rule or the way it was enforced. But if we are going to restirct students on anything, are phones really the one thing we should focus on?