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Can you hear me now?

There's an article in our local paper this morning (requires free, one-time registration) about the school board's attempt to allow cell phones at school.

(As a disclaimer, this is the Memphis City Schools, and does not affect My Kid, who attends a county school, which have their own, separate Board.)

The current rule (in City and County schools) is no cell phones at all, not before, during, or after school. The consideration is to allow students to have and use cell phones before and after school.

Teachers and principals are dead-set against this; they say it will be an enforcement nightmare. They say that students use cell phones to make prank 911 calls to make false reports of emergencies at school. And bullies are forcing their peers to give up their cell phones and then using them for illegal activities.

Parents want their kids to have cell phones before and after school for safety reasons and so that they can get in touch with them. I know that when My Kid stays after school for basketball games, I want to be able to reach him, or to have him call me when he's ready to be picked up. But that's not allowed.

What do you think the answer is? Should high school students be allowed to have cell phones for use before and after school? Do I have any teachers out there? What do you say?

I made it through 13 years of school with out a cell phone and I turned out just fine. There was none of this "Oh I'll just call and stay later." No. If I said I was done at 7, I was done at 7 unless the school activity lasted longer. If that were the case, then my dad just waited a bit longer.

I think people are just too bent about their time. We're really not THAT busy that we can't sit and wait 10 minutes. Schools have phones and I'm sure that kids have access to pay phones or community use phones to call parents.

I just don't see the sudden need for kids to need cell phones. I was very very involved all through school and it never was a need.

Yes, students should have a cell phone. I wish I would of had one in my day, I would of used it to call my mom every day that she was late picking me up!

While I certainly can see the convenience of having a cell phone, I don't really think it is a need. When I was in school I either used the office phone or the pay phone to call home. I tend to think the "bad" would outweigh the "good." Are they allowed to HAVE the phones as long as they are turned off?

I agree. I think it's the school's/teacher's responsibility to make phones available after hours. Likewise, they should be ensuring that kids that stay after school have a reliable and safe way home. Though I would never want my kid to be stranded and not be able to contact me, I am close to the plight of the teacher. My mom teaches at a highschool of a couple thousand kids and has school evacuations and disruptions for bomb threat, fire, etc nearly every other week. I am pretty sure they are allowed phones, or at least they are not policed if they are disallowed. We didnt have cell phones when i was a kid, and I managed to get home OK.

Okay, we had bomb threats at my high school in the '80's and nobody had cell phones. I'm not a parent but I have coworkers who swear by kids having cell phones. One said his son has been saved by being texting his mom and asking her to bring him a forgotten textbook. Not the best way to teach responsibility, but what parent wouldn't drop off the book if they could? Personally, I think it would be a nice safety measure and bring relief knowing your kid could call for help if they ever needed it... plus most phones have a GPS function so you could use it to track 'em and see if they're going to the football game or just using it as an excuse so they can go to the kegger in the cornfield like I did. :) On second thought, maybe they shouldn't have phones... thank goodness I didn't have a GPS enabled cell in H.S... my parents would've never let me leave the house! :)

I don't think kids should have them during classes, but maybe they could come up with some sort of phone check, similar to a coat check. Before classes begin, you turn your phone in, and then pick it up after your last class.

Thankfully, I have already did my time in the MCS, but I have a little sister still serving. She and almost everyone in her school has a cell phone. A teacher saw hers and took it and my mom had to go and get it. I never really understood why cellphones and beepers (do they still make beepers) are banned. As long as they don't use them in class. They are very useful in case of an emergency, for both parents and students. What if the parent is running a little late picking them up after school and needs to tell their child. MCS needs to realize that we are not living in the 50s were there wasn't much to worry about! Glad I graduated!

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