No cell phones during school hours is smart

Published 10:18 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2006

By Staff
Can you imagine your life without a cell phone?
No way to call someone in an emergency, no way simply to let your family know what time you'll be home.
But how about life without the interrupting chirp of someone's trendy ringtone or the buzz of a pager?
Sounds a little better, doesn't it?
Brewton City Schools have tried to compromise by passing a policy that allows cell phones on school grounds but limits their use.
The change in policy came about because the Legislature this year lifted the statewide ban on cell phones on school campuses, instead giving local school districts the right to decide their own policies.
That was a smart move, not only because it recognizes the obvious - that cell phones are a fact of life now - but also because it grants more autonomy to local districts to decide what's best for them.
In Brewton, elementary school students will have to turn their cell phones in to the office during school hours. Middle and high school students will have to keep their cell phones in their lockers.
Use during school hours will have to be authorized by a teacher, but students can use the phones before and after school if necessary.
That's a smart plan. School officials recognize that it's unrealistic to expect that students won't have cell phones - and won't need to use them in today's hyper-connected world.
But keeping phones from being a distraction - or, worse, a tool for cheating or breaking other rules - is the school's right and responsibility.