Should Cellphones be Allowed in School?

Kayla Timmerman, Editor

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The question that continues to be debated throughout schools around the world: Should cellphones be allowed in school? Ask most students and you will receive one response; however, ask most teachers and you will receive another. These contradicting opinions continue to be a main issue in many schools, with some already taking action. Some schools allow them, some prohibit them, and others limit them to only educational purposes. As a student, having my phone in school has more advantages than disadvantages, and that includes more than just being able to text friends and use social media.

Having a phone in school has many benefits, for both students and teachers, as well as parents. Firstly, there are benefits for the teachers and the school. According to BJU Press, “Many cell phones are, in reality, handheld computers that could enhance, or even replace, classroom technology that is very expensive for schools on a tight budget to provide.”  Phones give access to many resources that are extremely useful for teachers. Also, phones can save the school money on books that could now be downloaded online. Secondly, there are several benefits for parents. If something were to happen at school or at home, parents can easily reach their children in the case of an emergency. In a school of thousands of people, parents want to be able to have immediate access to their child if something were to happen, and having a phone with them gives that security for parents as well as their children. Lastly, there are a number of benefits for students as well. Permitting phones in school gives students a huge responsibility and teaches them how to care for their device, as well as how to use it properly in a school setting. Defenders of having phones in school say that the technology itself is not the problem, but the responsibility of knowing how, where, and when to use it appropriately is in the hands of the students. So the same question remains, just like in every controversial topic. Do the disadvantages outweigh the advantages?

There are, however, people who think phones should be prohibited in schools. Firstly, they think that phones cause a distraction to students from their schoolwork. In reality, students who are focused on their schoolwork and care about either getting that good grade or learning the new subject, will not be distracted by their phones. This is where the responsibility of using it appropriately comes in. Students will learn that putting the phone away and focusing will improve their understanding of the schoolwork, and being distracted by their phone will only hurt them in the long run. Secondly, these people think that phones can be disrespectful towards teachers if they are used in class without their permission. An easy solution to this is consequences. A student’s phone can be taken away until the end of class or the end of the school day if they are caught using it when they are not allowed to. Most of the time, students will not risk going on their phone if they know there are consequences. Lastly, phones can make cheating easier for students. To solve this, phones can be put away during tests and if a student is caught with a phone in possession, their test would be taken away. Clearly, consequences can solve many issues with phones in school, but they should still be allowed in schools due to the fact that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

This debate continues, with every school different from the next, some allowing them, some prohibiting them, and some having specific consequences on phones. According to The Journal, “Twenty-four percent of K-12 schools ban cell phones altogether, and sixty-two percent allow phones on school grounds but ban them in the classroom.” The majority of schools do see more advantages than disadvantages, with them only banning phones from the classroom. With allowing phones, parents have easy access to their children, teachers have more opportunities to teach in different ways, schools can save money, and students are given more trust. Clearly, allowing phones in school creates a much safer environment with broader learning opportunities and student responsibilities.