Michigan legislators move to ban student cell phones
The House has proposed a bill banning cell phones in all schools and school buses despite concerns about parent-student communication.
At one time, cell phones were a luxury. Even a status symbol. Today, they are much more of a necessity, even among students.
Kids rely on their cell phones for everything, from communicating with friends and family to handling their school work. So it makes sense that they would want to be able to use them during school hours, especially in case of an emergency.
Most schools ban cell phones in some situations order to prevent cheating on tests and other academic dishonesty. They also believe that cell phones can be disruptive and distracting, preventing students from being fully engaged in learning.
There’s no evidence that cell phones are any more likely to be disruptive than other devices, such as laptops. As many schools are now using laptops and other tablets in classrooms, it doesn’t make sense to ban cell phones while allowing other devices.
But that is exactly what one Michigan legislator is trying to do. The proposed legislation takes it it a step further, banning phones not only in schools but also on school buses and outside events.
According to the bill, Michigan school boards and charter schools would be given a state-mandated homework assignment: formulate a policy to ban cell phones. This ignores the fact a student might have a legitimate reason for using a cell phone during school hours.
Those may include medical reasons or in the event of a school lockdown. We know that during the tragic Uvalde shooting students called 911 to try to save their lives and the lives of their classmates. Michigan legislators indiscriminately telling every public school student in the state to cut themselves off from the world when they walk into a school building, however, is a huge overreach and misuse of government power.
If schools want to keep kids off their cell phones in class, they should work on improving curriculum so it will better engage and interest students. Distractions in the classroom are not a matter of state law.
The bill was introduced in June and currently sits in the House Committee on Education.