As summer approaches, the beach season promises to renew the ongoing battle over whether cellphones should be allowed in the classroom.
With the mental health of students in mind, many educators, school leaders and state legislators are pushing for stricter restrictions—saying that decades of technology’s hold on American children and years of competition for students’ attention have been studied by the study. After that, they have had enough.
“It’s a losing battle for the kids and their brain,” said Tyler Rablin, a high school teacher in Sunnyside, Washington. tweeted in May. Rablin, who wrote that he once favored the phone as a learning tool in the classroom, now compares teens with cellphones to alcoholics at bars.
“The phone is no longer a passive device,” he wrote. “Their call is actively and deliberately working against the goals of learning, to live a productive and meaningful life.”
Efforts to remove children’s phones from classrooms have seen some success over the years. Between 2015 and 2020, the share of schools that banned cell phones for non-educational purposes increased from 66 percent to 77 percent. education Department,
a 2020 study 96% of high schools and middle schools surveyed had some sort of cellphone policy, with 78% restricting cellphone use during class time. The study also found that at all grade levels, 99% of teachers support restrictions on cellphone use, and more than half are aware that children are using their phones during class.
In 2019, california Became the first state to enact a bill giving schools state-backed authorization to regulate smartphones during the school day. The importance of the bill is not in its restrictive power—it does not ban cellphones or demand that schools enact prohibitive policies—instead, a spokesman for the senator who wrote the bill said it was associated with a decline in the mental health of students. The first is the law connecting smartphones. First of all, it was requested that schools should implement smartphone rules keeping in mind the health of the students.
However, other states faced resistance when they attempted more restrictive measures.
In IA bill banning the use of student cellphones in the classroom, lunch breaks and between classes was rejected by a wide margin when it was proposed in 2019.
State Representative Heidi Sampson, who sponsored the bill, told CBS News in an email, “At the time there seemed to be no appetite to consider the proposal.” “Some people felt that banning them in schools was an unrealistic expectation of, ‘cellphones are here to stay, get used to it. Most ignored and dismissed the evidence for concerns.”
That same year, Arizona and Utah also tried and failed to implement some level of cellphone policies for schools, according to adweek,
Nebraska The state legislature introduced a bill in January 2022 that would require students to keep their phones in a clear, personal storage compartment at the entrance to the classroom. The bill was rejected in April. Pennsylvania A similar resolution was introduced at their General Assembly in July.
Maryland has gone a different route: a bill seeking to create a task force to study the effects of cellphones on students and teachers. That too was canceled when it was proposed in 2019. But state Senator Joanna Benson, the bill’s sponsor, told CBS News she plans to talk with teachers, update the bill, and re-introduce it when the congressional session resumes in January.
The opposition to the restrictive policies has come clearly from parents and students who want to reach out to each other in an emergency. Mass shootings in schools, such as in Uvalde, TexasAnd Parkland, Floridahas only reinforced those concerns.
Bruce Nell, a father of two children and a Casper City Councilman in Wyoming’s Lander School District, said, “I feel very strong about allowing cellphones so that children can have access to emergency services or their parents in the event of a disaster. ” news. “I feel more strongly as a parent than as a politician.”
But Ken Trump, president of the National School Safety and Security Services, says a child’s use of a cellphone is rarely the best course of action in an emergency.
“I understand that a cellphone can meet the emotional needs of the parent and child in the moment,” he said, “but in a lockdown situation the only job of a child should be to remain silent and give 100% of the teacher’s attention. ”
Trump, who leads safety training in schools across the country, acknowledges the importance of 911 call Which came from students with cellphones inside the school during the shooting in Uvalde. But he added that if the burden of dialing 911 is falling on a child, it is because there is a breakdown of crisis response at a higher level.
“By all accounts, many best practices were not followed in Uvalde’s situation,” he said. “We have protocols and trained crisis teams in place for times like these.”
But the concern isn’t just about school shootings. In February, students at Torrington Middle School in Connecticut protested after the school board voted to prohibit cellphone use, The Associated Press informed of. After the students pulled out the fire alarm and called the police to the scene, the administration dismissed the students for the day.
That day, Michael Mosel, who identified himself as the father of the Torrington student, started a petition Against the policy, calling it a waste of money, which can be better used for other educational purposes. It has since received over 600 signatures.
“Students are fed up with administrators and education boards and are constantly ignoring the basic needs of our students,” Mossel wrote in the petition. He stressed that the school board was “trying to restrict the use of phones in use regardless of the situation (eg medical, mental health, emergency, etc.).”
Jake Langleys, superintendent of Lewiston Public Schools in Maine, is sympathetic to the concerns of students and parents – but says the daily problems caused by phones in the classroom must be addressed.
“Cellphone use and social media is the number one distraction during the school day,” he told CBS News. “I understand the sense of security that a phone can provide to parents, but school should be a place to learn and become. Persistent phone access is proving the opposite.”
Lewiston is one of several districts trying to reach a compromise. Crane School District in Missouri, which where it would be Ban cellphones, smart watches, earbuds and digital cameras in the coming year is installing a new phone system over the summer to ensure every classroom can make outgoing calls.
Cocopa Middle School in Arizona told CBS News that it saw students and parents sign a “technology contract” that includes a declaration that parents will not unnecessarily text their child during the school day. Bronxdale High School in New York Use increasingly popular yonder pouch, which magnetically locks the phone like individual burritos – allowing students to keep their phones with them but rendering the devices useless. High school students in Fairfax County, Virginia can use your cellphone Between classes and during lunch.
Buxton School in Western Massachusetts Just banned smartphones for both students and teachers, but allows flip phones and “dumb” phones like Kindles and tablets with Internet access.
Buxton’s director of outreach, Frannie Shuker-Hains, told CBS News, “The mindfulness habits that smartphones have introduced and, at this point, essentially demanding, are the exact opposite of the educational project of a place like Buxton.” “We aim to give students the opportunity to become self-aware managers of their community, and smartphones consistently work against that essential mission.”