Cell phones play larger role at school

For years, school time has been off limits for cell phone use. But recently some have begun to wonder whether that rule has become outdated.

“I just think that cell phones are a great asset to getting on the internet and looking things up,” American history teacher Christine Clark said. “I plan to use them on our History Day projects. I’m trying to get in the computer lab, but it kind of helps out to have kids have cell phones or tablets in here so they can do some of the research in this room, and I’m working on that.”

A few teachers already allow their students to use their phones for class work.

“In math class, we’re allowed to use them for calculators,” said seventh-grader Kaycey R., who is enrolled in Jill Whitacre’s course.

But eighth-grade science teacher Linda Johnson said students using their phones during school is not appropriate.

“A phone is a huge, huge distraction, and it is for me too,” Johnson said. “In the summer time and on the weekends and stuff we’re texting all the time and using apps to play and have fun. [But] it’s kind of a disrupting habit.”

Johnson concedes that she uses her phone to help develop her lesson plans and that someday students could have a similar option.

”I can see how in the future we’ll let students use more technology,” she said. “But it’s not going be to like, check their Facebook [accounts].”

Clark said that not only should students be able to use their phones for class projects, but that they also should be able to use them during class changes.

“I think that it’s unreasonable that when class is out that they can’t use their phone,” she said. “I think that should be fine. I mean, if they want to send somebody a text outside of the classroom, as long as it’s between classes, it should be OK.”

Seventh-grader Ashley R. agrees that students should be able to use their phones at various times during the school day.

“It depends,” she said. “If it’s in the middle of class, then no. But in between classes, it [should be] OK.”

By Autumn Scheer

Editor’s note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the use of middle-schoolers’ last names on its web sites.