According the Examiner newspaper in Washington, DC, administrators at a Maryland high school are considering allowing students to use cell phones during lunch to allow students and parents to coordinate after-school plans. Students currently can carry cell phones at school but cannot use them at any time during school hours. Sponsors of the change believe the change will not interfere with teaching during class.
The measure has so much community support that some school board members are using the proposal as part of their campaign platform. The sponsor of the bill is on the school board and she says she proposed the bill in response to her 44,000 constituents.
One board member opposes the change because she believes students will continue to use phones after lunch. Apparently, she thinks students can turn off phone when they arrive in the morning, but not when they leave lunch period. The board member also fears teachers will have to become cell phone police, taking time away from their teaching. She fails to concede teachers already have to enforce the cell phone rule. During the first class period of the day, some students likely forget to turn off their phones and occasionally one might ring. With the change, there might be a few phone rings during the class period after lunch.
The change may actually reduce cell phone use during school hours because students can make calls or send texts during lunch. The students won’t have to squeeze in these texts during or between classes. The current cell phone rule is a great example of unintended consequences. Banning cell phone use at all times makes it more likely students will use phones during class.
Not surprisingly, a company that offers consulting services about school violence opposes the idea on the grounds that it will – wait for it – jeopardize school safety. Yes, these consultants believe calling your mom during lunch could lead to violence.
Start a campaign to allow cell phone use during lunch at your school. Contact all the school board members and explain that school board members in Montgomery, Maryland, are promoting this idea when they run for office because of the idea’s popularity. Once the board members learn the idea can help them get elected, they will pay attention. Then you could find some classmates to launch a campaign to support the change.
You could first try to find one board member who will introduce the proposal. Then you could lobby (convince) the other board members to support the change. Get parents involved as they will want the opportunity to speak with their children during lunch. If you don’t get anywhere, you could start with a proposal to allow texting during lunch.