Students must carry cell phones

Students stand and wait outside to be checked by security at AAJHS on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Jocelyn Fetter

Students stand and wait outside to be checked by security at AAJHS on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Jocelyn Fetter

Should students be allowed to carry cell phones throughout the school day?

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When I got home from school, I immediately started working on my homework. Why? Because once my mom saw my math grade on my report card, I would need all the brownie points I could get. My mom gets home and calls me downstairs. As I walk down the stairs, I say a little prayer in my head, and take a deep breath. Once I reach the bottom of the stairs, my mom asks me the question: “So what happened at school today?”

I metaphorically halt, and look at her. Immediately, I started panicking because I’ve only ever heard these words come out of my mothers’ mouth when she gets a call from the school about bad behavior.

Then, my dad comes out of the kitchen and says, “Yeah what exactly happened? We got a call from the school saying there was a potential bomb threat? What was that all about?”

“Yeah but they didn’t even call until after the incident had occurred,” my mother said.

I then proceeded to inform my mom about what exactly happened, and my mother was not happy to say the least. Since the sixth grade, my mom has been saying she wants me to be able to carry my phone on me. My mom, along with other parents, would feel more secure knowing their children have their cell phones on them, and they will be able to contact them when needed.

But, According to the Altoona Area School District Student Code Of Conduct for Secondary Education, “Students are not allowed to carry cellular phones and other non-school issued audiovisual devices (digital cameras, MP3 players, IPOD’s, CD players, etc.) on them during the school day. All cell phones and other audiovisual devices are required to be turned off and to be placed in the student’s locker during the school day. Students may retrieve cell phones or audiovisual devices from their lockers at the end of each school day.”

Long story short, it’s against the rules to have cell phones throughout the school day. Along with every other debatable topic, there are pro’s and con’s to being able to having students carry cell phones. There is more good than bad that can come out of changing this rule, if it is approached and taken care of appropriately.
In Hollidaysburg Area School District, a school that is only 8.2 miles, (19 minutes) away from Altoona, students are allowed to carry cell phones on them throughout the day.

Traci Krider, mother of eighth grader Sage Krider saidm “As a parent I need to be able to ask him questions and remind him to do things.”

Monday, Nov. 6, students attending Altoona Area Junior High school, started their week off by lining up along the school, to be checked by the Altoona Police Department, by walking through metal detectors and getting their book bags checked. Throughout the day, everyone was extremely worried and some students even went home early, while others didn’t come at all. The school was just taking a necessary safety precaution, but students and parents were still worried.

“Hollidaysburg hs never had an incident like Altoona’s, but being able to stay in contact with my child if something like that were to occur, would be the most important thing,” T. Krider said.

Throughout the school day, parents would love to keep in contact with their children, to help put their concerns to rest throughout the school day.

If students were to turn their ringer off, and put phones into a basket in the front of the classroom before class, or into a bin of some sort and retrieve it afterwards, this would eliminate the issue of having them being distracted during class.

Another way to ensure students don’t have their phones, is to have the students simply place their phone into some type of bin that will be kept with the teacher as names are called for attendance.

Student’s having their cell phones during school could be a huge benefit. If for some reason something went wrong during the school day that wasn’t a drill or a close call, like the real deal, students could contact the authorities and get help quicker.

“With technology it’s now possible to put locators on our children’s phones, and then throughout the school day, we can make sure they’re at school and still doing what they’re supposed to do,” T. Krider said.

Phones could also be used as great reward benefits if the teacher would allow it. If a student would score a certain score on a test, the student could be allowed to keep their phone on their person during class.

“ We’re allowed to keep our phones on us throughout the entire day, except for when we’re doing bigger tests like the PSSA’s. When we’re done with our work, sometimes we’re allowed to play on our phones depending on the teacher, and it helps to keep the noise level down.” Sage Krider, son of Traci Krider, and also eighth grader at Hollidaysburg Jr. High school said.

Most parents would probably like the idea of being able to contact their children during the day especially now in the 21st century, but also knowing, it’s not affecting their learning process. Teachers would likely agree as well, considering they’re not interrupting class.

“At the beginning of the year parents signed a permission slip since this is the first year they’re officially doing it, but there was a huge debate on whether or not they should have them or not on a Facebook thread. I think that the students really benefit from having their phones, and it makes me as a parent feel safer,” T. Krider said.

Not only would the cell phones make parents feel better, they help students feel better as well.

“I feel a lot safer having my phone on me and being able to contact my parents if I need to,”S. Krider said.

Cell phones could also help the education process by allowing kids to view things that are sometimes blocked by the school. If students can’t view a website that has a video the teacher would like them to watch, which happens a lot, they can pull it up on their phone, and watch it right on their cell phones, which would help to improve the education process in a visual way.

Over all, having phones in school will help students educationally and will help parents feel more secure knowing they can directly contact their children throughout the day instead of having to go through teachers. Especially because we live in the 21st century and education is based around technology.

“It’s the world we live in, we have to find ways to work with it, not against it,” T. Krider said.

View the code of conduct here.