I believe cell phones should be allowed at middle school. Cell phones are the “passing notes” of the twenty first century but unlike passing notes there are compelling reasons cell phones have a place inside our school. Cell phones are needed for communication, as an aid to learning and for emergencies.
Communication is essential in today’s busy society. Children as well as adults need the ability to change plans and act quickly to unforeseen circumstances during school hours. With cell phones kids can call and stay late for chess club or to say math practice has been cancelled. Parent’s lives are busy as well and they may need to change the daily schedule without much notice. Children can use their phones to communicate with their friends as well to ask for homework assignments or just to talk. Children with close friends are happier in all aspects of their life. Just like passing notes or being too chatty some kids will need to learn not to overuse their phones.
A cell phone can be an important tool for learning. Cell phones today are so sophisticated that many have the ability to act as calculators. My scientific calculator cost almost $160. The same app on the phone cost 99 cents. Many cell phones have the ability to download great teaching tools for math and science. Phones are also a handy camera. My Cannon XL cost $300 dollars three years ago. My cell phone takes better photos with more pixels and came free with the phone. Digital photography is a great class and would be open to so many more students if they did not have to worry about the expense of a digital camera. Phones can also access the internet. This feature alone is worth the price of a phone. There are never enough computers available in the school to work on. If all the children with phones used them to download school information the line would be so much shorter to get to a computer. Many people believe that cheating on exams will be easier with cell phones but like all cheating people can be caught and punished.
The biggest reason to allow cell phones in school is safety. During the Columbine shootings in 1999 cell phones could have been used to alert police to where the shooters were in the school and where people were hiding. During September 11th phones connected people instantly to relatives waiting for word of their safety. Phones can call the school office the instant a stranger enters the school or when children are in any kind of danger. One month ago 28,000 people died in Japan during the earthquake and tsunami. Literally thousands of lives could have been saved just by going up two flights of stairs to higher ground if they had gotten a phone call instantly. Some believe during emergencies too many people will use their phones to call police but the authorities always like more information on large security events and can handle almost any call volume.
Cell phones are simply part of our daily lives now. They are so useful in so many ways. Like all new technology it will eventually become part of our school day and we will not even remember what we did without it. I believe we should look to this technology as a good step in the right direction and allow cell phones at school.