It is hard to deny that cell smartphones have began occupying spaces in society perhaps at a rate that many people have not been able to adapt to. I’ve been seeing a lot of (older) people and teachers sharing stories online about schools confiscating phones during the school day. I am not necessarily against this sort of school policy, but there are two dynamics that are typically ignored by the people I see sharing these posts.
First, there seems to be a huge degree of technophobia in these discussions. People needlessly bash technology (or, more accurately, their perception of how The Youth Today use technology), often viewing The Good Old Days with rose colored glasses. Perhaps banning cell phones in schools is a good idea, but let’s make these determinations on their own merit not on a fetishization of “the way things used to be.”
Second, while most educators’ support for these initiates is in good faith, many school administrators likely do so in an attempt to cut down on potential lawsuits and bad publicity. Last year, people were shocked when a white police officer needlessly dragged black student out of a classroom, flipping her over her own desk. It was this shocking video which allowed the story to snowball into a national discussion that was recorded on a smartphone. This is certainly an extreme example, but it is malfeasance of all sorts that school administrations would prefer students be unable to document.
To reiterate: I am not necessarily against schools banning cell phone use during the school day. But, I’ve been a bit disgusted with the lack of depth in the reporting of these issues.