LT on cell phones in school

Kind of knew this was technically possible, but hadn’t ever researched it.

Most of the students at the high school with cell phones are using Verizon as their service carrier. Verison offers parental controls for $5/month. This allows a parent to restrict services like text messaging during school hours (and even post-bedtime).

I also haven’t thought about it much.  It does betray my general rule of coercion:  Convincing someone something is a bad idea – like texting in school – is better than simply banning it.  However, having subbed, I am not so sure it’s that simple in this case.

What does everyone else think?

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11 Comments on “LT on cell phones in school”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Not really sure how this will prevent my 18 yo who pays for his own phone and has a contract in his own name from texting. Leagally, I cannot even open the bill much less contact Verision and make changes to his account.

  2. Dennis Says:

    Anon, it won’t. But that’s a consequence of being 18, I suppose.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Any student who has not been retained or advanced but was 5 after Sept. 1 the year they started kindergarten will be 18 during the majority of the senior year. Not sure LT has considered this.

  4. Dennis Says:

    There’s nothing in the post to suggest LT has considered this, but I’m not sure how much it matters, for two reasons. First, such students are a relatively small percentage of overall students, and second, if there was a precedent – or even a culture – of no cell phones in class, the number of students who suddenly turn 18 AND get and pay for their own plan AND break the culture/precedent will be very, very small.

  5. Joe seeks the right direction Says:


    How about asking different questions like “How can teachers use ‘texting’ to engage students in curricular content?

    Just a thought amongst the seemingly endless discussions (on web, in meetings, forums etc.) on how to ‘punish kids, coerce kids, discipline kids, administrators, board members or teachers, blame parents’ etc. that dominate the conversation in Lebanon: HOW DO WE IDENTIFY, CELEBRATE, ENCOURAGE, FIND, RECOGNIZE, CREATE, INVENT
    DISCOVER, MANIFEST, etc. the successes of our wonderful young people who are the only reason I come to Lebanon daily to teach?

    First Rule of Behaviorism: You get more of what you look for…


  6. I’m inclined to think this is a bad idea, for a few reasons: texting can be a way to alert others to emergencies, to communicate with parents between classes, and to communicate in a variety of ways. Of course, we focused on texting as a literacy technology rather than a nuisance for schools, then we might start getting somewhere.

  7. Roxy Says:

    No, I think the 18-year-old point is relevant and something worth considering. Probably the majority of seniors have a cell phone and are probably the worst texters. How do you stop them?

  8. Dennis Says:

    1. Go Faris! Go….. Joe?

    2. Roxy, I think that only holds true if the 18-year-old in question pays their own bill. I’m not sure how much that happens. Other than that, I think it does become up to individuals teachers to follow whatever guidelines are laid out.

  9. LT Says:

    A couple of points:

    We responded to the 18 year old question on our blog.

    Joe, the technology junkie: there are plenty of ways to engage students with other modes of techonology and even the old fashioned interest them in what is going on in the classroom. Here’s an example: a freshman with failing grades, both last term and this. When Mom looked at the data, it showed that the longest pause between the child receiving or sending text messages DURING SCHOOL was 5 minutes for the period of the entire bill. And the child was regularly staying up until 3 a.m. texting. Is it any wonder that this child is failing. As a parent, what is the logical first step? Take the phone away or restirct phone useage.

    And, by the way, it is possible to exempt parent phone nembers from the restrictions.

    Our understanding is that the rule at West Albany is no cell phones out in the school, during school hours. Period. End of discussion. If West Albany can do it, why can’t we?

    The idea that coercion is the way to get students to learn strikes us as a doomed policy. however, there are some things that we don’t allow children to do because the majority lack the maturity to handle the freedom. This strikes us as the situation here. But it is crazy to think that we simply have to ban cell phones, iPods, and sleeping in order to improve grades. Forcing students to take extra math and language arts classes are unlikely to produce any better results unless there is something to convince the student to do work in the new class.

    We have to consider changing everything. And we have to consider ways to convince students that (1) school can be interesting, (2) the benefits of getting an education are substantial, and (3) they can be successful.

  10. Angela Says:

    I’m not sure of the best way to achieve the desired ends in this case, but concerted efforts aimed at developing a culture of students investing and engaging in their own education and that it’s not ok to be disruptive in the classroom (e.g., using cell phones at all) from the beginning would be outstanding. Especially since habits started early tend to carry on throughout life, and understanding the reasons behind “rules” make them much easier to follow. It would be great if my college students came in with the already-internalized idea that paying attention in class is an essential part of succeeding in their educational careers and that it’s just plain rude to their peers if they engage in disruptive behavior.

  11. Dennis Says:

    Oh dear… that would be nice. If you can explain to me how that culture would be developed in the face of the rest of American culture, consider me convinced. But as is, teachers are completely outgunned as influences on the lives of students, no?

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