Schools and parents disagree on banning student cellphones

A growing number of schools in the United States are limiting the amount of students who can use their cell phones. Educators say phones are entertaining and prevent children from learning.

But some parents disagree and oppose the policy.

Bans on devices were increasing before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since schools reopened, student behavior and mental health issues have given some schools even more reason to restrict use.

Parental refusal

During the e-learning period, parents constantly had to access to their children. Some did not want to give up this access. Others say they fear losing contact with their children in the event of a school shooting.

With more debate over how topics like race are taught in schools, some parents are also seeing phone restrictions as a way to keep them out of their homes. kids‘ education.

Shannon Moser has eighth and ninth graders grades in Rochester, New York. She said she felt parents were pushed back when the local school system locked students’ phones. She noted that many parents on either side of the political divide feel the same way.

“Everything is so politicized, if divisor. And I think parents just have a general fear of what’s going on with their kids during the day,” Moser said. The Associated Press. There is a form of responsibilityshe says, when students are able to register what is happening around them.

Washington Junior High School students leaving class for the day, use the unlock mechanism to open the bags their cellphones were sealed in during the school day, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Growing restrictions

The National Center for Education Statistics found that about 65% of public schools banned cell phones in 2015. As of the 2019-2020 school year, restrictions were in place at 76% of schools. And the states of California and Tennessee recently passed laws allowing schools to ban phones.

Now educators see a need to keep students from being distracted. During the pandemic, many students have experienced learning loss.

Liz Keren-Kolb is a professor of educational technology at the University of Michigan. She said school officials might feel like they might restrict mobile devices due to parents’ concern about high screen time during the pandemic. But she said there was a wide range of parental opinions on the subject.

“You always have the parents who want to have that direct line of communication,” she said. “But I think there’s more than one empathy and an understanding that their child can store their devices so they can really to concentrate on classroom learning.

In western Pennsylvania, the Washington School District began banning cellphones this year because educators found them distracting.

Students were on the phone in the hallways and at the lunch tables. Some were calling home or answering calls in the middle of a class, high school teacher Treg Campbell said.

School system chief George Lammay said the ban was the right choice. He said the ban was intended to keep students focused on school, “without trying to limit their contact with families”.

In some cases, parental refusal has resulted in policy changes.

In the school district of Brush, Colorado, cellphones were banned after teachers raised concerns about going online. intimidation. When parents pushed back, the school system held a community meeting, with most opposing the ban. Parents said they wanted their children to have access to their phones.

The policy has been changed to allow phones on school grounds. But they should be turned off and put away. The school also said it would allow some students to use their phones for special reasons.

” There is no intention say cell phones are bad,” Wilson said. Instead, it’s “How can we handle this in a way that makes sense to everyone?” »

Kolb said there’s no perfect answer for phones in schools.

“It’s really about making sure we educate students and parents about health habits with their digital devices,” she said.

I am Dan Novak.

Dan Novak adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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words in this story

distract -v. to stop thinking or paying attention to someone or something and to think or pay attention to someone or something else instead

to access — nm a way of approaching something or someone

to note — nm a level of study completed by a student for one year

politicize -v. relate to politics in a way that makes people less likely to agree

child— nm a young

indebted — adj. to be responsible for something

empathy — nm feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions

to concentrate -v. direct your attention or effort toward something specific

bully — nm someone who scares, hurts, or threatens smaller or weaker people

intention -v. the thing you plan to do or achieve

habit — nm a normal way of behaving