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Cell phones have place in school and at work

Taking Notes
By Vicky Livesay

I have to admit, I do understand addiction to cell phones. When boredom strikes, my Tiny Tower and my Pocket Planes beg for attention.
I love to check-in on Yelp and see what restaurants have high ratings from other diners. My workout is on my phone. All I have to do is click start and it tells me when to walk and when to run.
But as much as I understand, I do also recognize there is a time and place for everything. My phone doesn’t go into church, period. At work, it sits to the side of my desk to be used only if necessary. I can step away.
We have students who can’t step away. Maybe it’s because they have friends and family members who don’t set that example or maybe they are simply addicted to the constant engagement and feedback a cell phone gives. Whatever the reason, school is a place with boundaries and consequences and we do have both for cell phone use.
There are times cell phones, and other portable electronics, are acceptable. The best times are before school, after school, and during lunch. They are also okay between classes as long as they don’t contribute to being tardy or cause other distractions walking to class. A student’s cell phone is not acceptable during class unless approved by the teacher.
There are some special times cell phones should not be used. One of those is during drills and emergency situations. In the event of a true emergency, cell phone use could cause school telephone lines to become tied up by anxious family members at a time when lines need to be kept clear. It could also cause family members to rush to the school which could cause problems getting the appropriate emergency personnel to the campus.
We know there have been times during school emergencies when the cell phones of staff members and students have been an asset. If the time came when cell phone usage could be of benefit, the teacher would be clear to allow it. The first priority, though, would be everyone’s safety.
Cell phones with cameras and recording devices on them present a special problem. Use of these components are not allowed at any time when a student could reasonably expect privacy. Photographing or recording altercations is also not allowed.
So what is the consequence for violating the cell phone policy? It’s very simple. A student phone is confiscated for a period of time. Is it worth that? Most students who have had this happen would agree it’s not.
And most students don’t lose their phone more than once. For those who do lose their cell phones multiple times, there are also additional consequences.
Once again, this is a step into the adult world. In the workplace, there are times when cell phones are and are not appropriate. Electronic devices of any kind can be valuable tools or unnecessary distractions. It is important to know the difference.
At school, you might lose your phone but in the workplace you could lose your job. For those who learn that lesson as teens, adulthood will be much easier.