Ban cell phones in schools
Dear Cowichan School District 79 trustees and school board staff:
I am requesting our board legally ban student cell phones from all school buildings and vehicles during class time.
I realize we have far fewer students currently in our schools due to COVID-19 safety.
Still, I humbly urge trustees to install a strict, logical cell phone ban now and in the future.
I believe student use of cell phones has no real place in our schools.
Cell phones are not designed as learning tools but as communication devices. School computers are available for pupil use regarding research and more.
A cell phone prohibition should easily dovetail with current school district bans of liquor, tobacco, drugs, and weapons.
Cell phones and some apps are designed to be highly addictive, software engineers have admitted.
Phone companies report cell phones do emit a low form of radiation, even when turned off, hence there is a long-term safety issue concerning students.
Additionally, cell phones have been used by some students to cheat on tests, exams and lessons, some educators have reported.
And cell phone cameras may be used to annoy and upset unsuspecting pupils, who have privacy rights.
Let’s also remember cell phone dangers concerning misinformation, bullying, hatred, bigotry and pornography.
I don’t believe simply telling pupils to turn their phones off while in class, or even keeping them in lockers, goes far enough.
Neither does warning students against cell phone use during class and school hours. Teachers have enough to do without being phone referees.
Ring-tones can be noisy annoyances in schools. So can the temptation to leave class and use one’s phone.
Cell phones distract student users, and those nearby, from vital studies. Concentration time is crucial during school hours, and certainly should not be wasted talking, emailing, shooting photos, net-surfing or texting.
Students often do enough of that in their off hours, during which homework — if assigned by teachers — and other gainful activities, should be an educational priority.
Of course, my cell phone ban request excludes pupils who have medical or other issues demanding their cell phone be available.
I know arguments exist supporting cell phones in schools but device distraction, and other cogent issues, trump those views, I believe.
In short, the simplest lesson is to inform students and parents that cell phones are prohibited inside all School District 79 buildings, vehicles and facilities, barring extenuating circumstances discussed with staff.
Thank you trustees for kindly considering my requested cell phone prohibition.
Peter W. Rusland