I was amazed when I walked through a school in a nearby district a couple of weeks ago and saw kids texting and talking away on their cell phones. This same school had bathroom monitors (actual people who sat in the bathroom all day ensuring that nothing untoward took place), but kids on cell phones were apparently not a problem.
Our school has long banned cell phones, only allowing their use after school hours or during the occasional emergency (an early dismissal for snow, for example). New York City also tried to ban cell phones in 2005 to the outcry of students and parents.
However, the New York Supreme court upheld the ban, according to an article in Ars Technica:
[The presiding judge] noted that the ban does not infringe on parents' constitutional right to care for their children, because "the right is not absolute and is only afforded constitutional protection in 'appropriate cases.'"
She noted that cell phones have been used for cheating, sexual harassment, prank calls, and intimidation, and that all of these things threaten order during school hours. She also rejected the suggestion that kids be able to carry cell phones but not use them, pointing out that even adults cannot be trusted to turn their phones off (or on silent) during movies and cultural events. "While the vast majority of public school children are respectful and well-behaved, it was not unreasonable for the Chancellor to recognize that if adults cannot be fully trusted to practice proper cell phone etiquette, then neither can children," she wrote.
My take? Good for her. Cell phones, as much as we all love them, are disruptive in schools. This is one little bit of tech that has nothing to do with Ed Tech. What do you think?