Children's Cell Phones

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by AnonyMS, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    Mar 9, 2009

    I'm starting to think about going back to teaching after 8 years staying home. I taught Middle School Reading for 13 years. I have been networking with teacher friends and one comment / advice I received from a wonderful friend who is teaching middle school is to GO ELEMENTARY.

    She says that there is a prevalence of cell phone use during class time and students are audio- and video-recording teachers at their worst moment (naturally). They text Mommy or Daddy under the desk when something isn't to their liking. Mom or Dad is then up at the school before the teacher even knows it... irate and confrontational.

    Comments?

    What is your school's official policy regarding children's cell phones and what is the reality of such a policy?
     
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  3. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Our official policy is to confiscate it if we see it. I took two last week as I follow this policy. If I just suspect it, as opposed to actually seeing it out, I might remind a student that purses and backpacks belong under their chairs (as in - I think you're texting in your purse, but I'm not sure, so get the purse where it belongs and we don't need to have this discussion any more!)

    Is it a problem at our school? Sure. I do what I can to limit it in my class. When they are texting though I suspect it's mainly to chat with friends. You know, like passing notes except the person you're passing it to might not be in the same class and you're doing it on the phone instead of on a piece of paper. I have never heard of a parent showing up at school due to a text. Then again, admin would confiscate the phone if a parent showed up saying their child had texted them with a complaint.
     
  4. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    At one school I worked at they were not allowed to have them out. If we saw it, we confiscated it, put a sticky with their name on it, and turned it in to the office. Mom/Dad had to come to school to pick it up. At the other school, we were NOT allowed to confiscate it - we could only tell them to put it away. Supposedly, if the kid refused, we could send them to the office - except the office didn't do anything other than tell them to put it away and send them back to class. Cheating was rampant at this school - mostly due to texting.

    Also, a lot of kids DID receive texts from their parents throughout the day. Parents claimed they NEEDED contact with their kids. I'm sorry, but just because you're a parent doesn't mean you get to interrupt my class to talk to your kid. If there's an emergency, call the office and have someone remove the child from class to take a phone call. If you need to leave a message to ride the bus or whatever, call the office and they'll put it on the afternoon announcements.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I haven't had any experience with this. I have taught elementary and this year will apply for middle school positions as well. I've been thinking about the cell phone issue. And if it becomes a problem, I will have a basket at the front where students will have to put their cell phone before class, and they can pick it up when class is over.
     
  6. blessedhands

    blessedhands Comrade

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    Yes and they still think we don't see them using it.
     
  7. GoehringTeaches

    GoehringTeaches Comrade

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    At the middle school where my step-son goes, the policy is to confiscate it for THIRTY days! It is in the handbook, and they have taken a few away.
     
  8. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    We have a no phone policy and I have only needed to talk to one child about it in the last three years. She had her cell phone in her book bag and it went off in class. She was embarrassed and very sorry...it was actually someone calling for her mother! I could not give her a hard time, though, because once I kept hearing an odd ringing in my classroom. We ignored it but come to find out it was my husband's work pager that was dropped into my lunchbox!
    I do text my children (high school) however, since their phones are turned off, they do not get the message until they get ready for sports.
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    We have a well written and enforced policy.

    first offense: confiscated and child can pick it up at the end of the day

    Second offense: confiscated and parent must pick it up no earlier than dismissal that day. Parents must sign a form stating that they understand that any further offenses will result in the phone being confiscated until the end of the school year and we are not repsonsible for any fees or charges incurred due to the loss of the phone or loss of use of the phone.

    Third offense: Confiscated until the end of the school year.

    Fourth offense: (this happens when parents replace the phone), child is expelled (I'm in what's best described as a magnet school).
     
  10. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    I teach 7/8 in the high school, do you know how many kids really have their cell phones off? 0! It cracks me up when parents have to come get cell phones that were turned off because it beeped when the parents text them.

    Anyway, at our school we confiscate when we catch them. The first offence, the student gets 10 days after school detention. 2nd offence 3 days suspension. 3rd offence 1 week of in school suspension.

    I will admit it that I am not a huge stickler with the phones. I do make them put it up, but honestly, I don't have a big problem with it. Lately, I have been really watching for it because supposedly a student had been bragging about texting in my classroom, but I haven't seen anyone texting, including the girl who was doing the bragging.
     
  11. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    We are to take and send to office. I usually give one warning to put away, next time I take it til end of day and they can pick it up in my room, the next its to the office. Some teachers take and automatically send to office; some just continually say put away.

    I have a rule that all backpacks and purses go to the back of the room on the floor. You get what you need. They've laxed a bit on it-but I keep reminding them. This also eliminates the 'beauty parlor' of my girls. Some put it in their pockets, boys/girls alike and I tell them to put it away.

    Funny enough, when we are watching a video they'll get it out because its dark..I kindly remind them that in a dark room the screen of the phone glows which shows on their face-thus they are 'telling on themselves' quicker:D Many have just said..oops..don't think they thought of that aspect...
     
  12. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Our secretary has told us that parents have called saying they need to talk to their child, could she go get them-because they've tried to text/call them on their phone and they won't answer..DUH! Because they are in SCHOOL!

    My kids will go that's my mom/dad texting can I text them back..um...No, they know where you are if its an emergency they can call the school.
     
  13. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    The only thing a parent should need to communicate is an actual emergency in which they need to contact the office and talk to the child in private or even have the counselor tell the child whatever it is or to talk about how the child is getting home. The problem with the how to get home line is that parents seem to think it ok to not have a regular plan and just let a child know through a call/message. Get real - it is irresponsible to not have a regular plan and if you have to discuss this plan on a daily basis - get a new plan.
     
  14. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    We also do this.. .minus the expellsion... but i dont think it has went that far - parents usually take the phone away.
     
  15. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    When I was teaching, I taught kinder so we didn't have cell phone issues. I know that some of the older kids had phones but I dont think it was much of an issue either. So as a teacher I haven't had to put up with cell phone problems. On the other hand I am the parent of 3 kids with cell phones. We do have a cell phone policy at our high school but to tell you the truth I am not really sure what it is. Last year we had a VP that was the cell phone police. If he saw it, it was confisicated. This year he is gone and I think so has that policy. In fact the other day I was in the office talking to the secretary and she told me to text my daughter so that she wouldn't have to send someone down to the room. I have to admit I text my kids all the time at school. They don't always answer me right away so I am guessing that they wait until they have teachers that are ok with them texting. I have applied to several middle school positions. I will have a policy in place. I am thinking most days they can keep their phones but on test days they will go in a basket.
     
  16. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    My school's cell phone policy is that it's up to individual teachers. My policy is that the first time I see it, I take it and you get it back at the end of class. If I see it again, I take it and you get it back at the end of the day.

    I think it's a major problem. I also think that my school not having a policy exacerbates it. I've had students come to me complaining that another teacher's cell phone policy is unfair and wanting me to do something about it (which I absolutely DID NOT do). Just yesterday I had a student be EXTREMELY disrespectful to me for not giving her phone back to her.

    I think that parents really need to have a realistic understanding of their kids and cell phones. Please don't text or call your child during the school day. Even if you assume their phone is off, it probably isn't. Students assume that a parent trumps a teacher and will just take the call, or answer the text, then give the teacher grief when the phone is taken away.

    Honestly, student cell phones are my biggest pet peeves.
     
  17. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I have cell phone issues in my 3rd grade class! Its ridiculous...text messages, alarms set, phone calls. We have a policy that says no cell phones in school, but it isn't enforced the way it should be. I say put it away the first time and the second time it goes off I confiscate it and call the parents to come get it.
     
  18. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    In third grade??? Geez, that's crazy. What on earth does a third grader even need a cell phone for? My son is in third and there's no way he's getting a phone any time soon!!
     
  19. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    I'm really surprised to hear that parents text during the school day. I would have thought it was all kids. And to hear that a parent who is a teacher is texting their child... that really surprises me.
     
  20. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    I know several teachers that text their kids. It's not like we do it everyday or all day long. I do know that the office has a very hard time getting messages to our kids. I am sure that it is that way for most high schools. There was a time that it was an emergency and I needed my kids to be ready when I got to school. They weren't and it took half an hour to get my kids out of the school because teachers wouldn't let them go until they were done with instruction. I understand that I really do, BUT on the other hand I needed them ready and waiting so I get to the hospital for a family thing. So if texting my kid to let them know I am on my way-hey I am going to do that.
     
  21. dame frank

    dame frank Rookie

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    I don't see where phoning the office is so old-fashioned when the kids need to be rounded up for an emergency. I sent a text message to my niece during school time. I had no idea she actually had the phone on during class (why?). She let me know that her phone was taken away during class because my text had come through. I assumed she would see the text after school when she turned her phone on.

    I believe schools should have a very strict policy about phones being turned on in class.
     
  22. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    txmom - that seems to me like a school problem. If there is a family emergency, why should the teacher be allowed to hold a student until instruction is over? I remember in high school my brother and I were pulled for an emergency. The dean came to the room, told the teacher we were leaving, had us gather our stuff, then walked us to the office. 2 minute total, minimum distraction to the class.

    It is an interesting point, though - maybe if schools had a better system, parent wouldn't feel they needed to text.

    At my practicum school, announcements are made at the beginning of 7th hour for students who need to pick up messages from the front office. There is a 5 minute period built into 7th hour for students to go and pick up messages.The extra 5 minutes are used by teachers as silent reading time.
     
  23. Historygeek

    Historygeek Companion

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    My kids high school that they went to had a rule - no cell phones in class period. Not in your purse or your book sack. They had to stay in their lockers. Each teacher had a cell phone in their class for emergency situations but the kids were not allowed. If they did the phones were confiscated the first time and then the second time the parent was called and the third time they were given ISS.

    At first there were a lot of kids that pushed the issue, but after they saw the admin. was serious there were no more problems. They can have them at lunch, before school, and of course after school but not in class.
     
  24. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    I am the one who says that I text my kids during the day. I actually text them two times...the first one is "Have a good day!" for when they are on the way to school and once later confirming pick up times after sports. I have done this for two years and my kids have never has a phone taken away or even had a note. They turn off the phone in school and turn it on after school.
    I will continue texting them...it is a nice way to stay in touch. My school starts later but also goes later (into their practice) so it is just one more way to say, "I am here and am thinking about you."
    I am an involved parent. My children (10th and 11th grade) have never gotten a detention or even a complaint from a teacher. They are both on honor roll and are three sport varsity athletes. They volunteer a ton of hours and my oldest holds down a part time job. They are doing well and I will continue to encourage them. I admit it...my texts are not for emergencies but they are to stay involved in teenagers lives.
    I know things are working out because they send me texts that indicate that they are still thing about me, too!
     
  25. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Well said AllisonBeth. My two kids are the same as yours. Honors, AP classes, band, after school stuff. I too am also a very involved parent. Wouldn't have it any other way. My kids have NEVER been in trouble since kindergarten. In fact I have one so straight laced and a rule follower he makes me look bad. I am a bit of a rebel, and I guess that is probably why i text them at school.
     
  26. VT-HI-PATeacher

    VT-HI-PATeacher Rookie

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    I would rethink this plan. As a teacher in a high school, I too thought of doing this but decided against it because I did not want to be responsible for lost cell phones when they were on my desk in a basket where they were free for the taking. The policy at my school (urban/inner city school), where cell phone use is rampant, the teacher asks for the cell phone/ipod and if the student refuses they automatically get two days suspension. If they give it up, the teacher writes name of student on sticky note and hands it to security guard in the hallway for delivery to an admin.
     
  27. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    But see - that's what makes you different. Your kids don't have it on in class; they aren't reading texts instead of paying attention or doing their work.

    I just don't think, say, 4th period is the time to text your kid and say "Uncle Al is coming over for dinner tonight" or "You're grounded for not doing the dishes." I don't have a problem with the kids having their phones AT school (it is a safety issue) - I just have a problem with them having them on, reading, and responding to texts during class.

    But I do understand txmom's situation and I do understand where she's coming from. If that had happened to my admittedly nonexistent child, I'd be pissed as heck and would probably feel the same way she does. But I still think that's a school policy issue and I hope you complained, b*tched, and wrote lots of letters regarding your situation.
     
  28. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    as far as you know your child turns it off at school...most put it on vibrate.
     
  29. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Oh they knew i was mad, unfortunately at the time I woked for the district and felt that too many waves would cause a great deal of issues. A change is admin at the high school and central office my first year teaching was not a good time for me to make waves. I also talked to the teacher and when the note was sent to class it did not state that it was an emergency so I blame the office more than anything.
     
  30. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    If I see it, I take it and turn it over to the principal. They keep them for three days, at which time the parent has to come get it.

    That policy still isn't effective as we'd like, so we are looking into purchasing a cell-signal jamming device.
     
  31. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I understand that the teachers on this forum use common sense when it comes to texting, and that their kids are smart enough NOT to turn their phones on during class.

    But the kids and parents who aren't that smart? Unfortunately, they're rampant, and breeding like crazed weasels.

    I would say, let the kids have their cell phones, and weed out the idiots by taking any phone that goes off at the wrong time.
     
  32. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Exactly like ours.
     
  33. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    I had an amusing incident with this a few weeks ago. A student's cell phone went off in another teacher's classroom... she had received a text message from her father in the middle of class.

    ... her father is the principal of the school. I thought that was pretty funny.

    That said, she was supposed to have the thing off, and she admitted she wasn't supposed to even have it on her at the time. The message was in reference to something after school. But the problem is, far more kids keep them on than teachers, parents, or admin would like (or know about). Honestly, I'd venture to guess 90% of them keep the phones on, but on silent.
     
  34. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    At our school, cell phones must remain in backpacks. If students are caught using cell phones, they are taken away at the end of the year. NO EXCEPTIONS! I have never seen a cell phone out during class and I catch just abotu everything.

    It has a lot to do with how strict your schools are.
     
  35. momsdumplin

    momsdumplin New Member

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    Why not use the phones to your advantage? I recently gave a pop quiz in my classroom. The assignment? You have 10 minutes to text someone outside of this classroom and ask them what they are doing, what they had for breakfast and what was the last thing they bought. Bonus points were awarded if it was someone from a different state and/or country. Now I have the attention and respect of the students. I don't expect them to live without their phone since I can't live without mine!
     
  36. Vegas Art Guy

    Vegas Art Guy Rookie

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    The district policy here is that the phone is taken away and sent to the office where the parents get to pick it up.

    Usually I will warn them once (hide it or lose it) and then take it away. Pay attention to what they are doing and you'll see who the culprits are.
     
  37. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    momsdumplin -I agree with you completely! I would love to be able to do that in my classroom, but my school policy is no cell phones. :(
     
  38. ohteachr

    ohteachr Rookie

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    I actually haven't had problems with cell phones, but I think I just got lucky with this particular school and group of kids. I anticipate problems with them next year when I have my own classroom.

    I believe the policy is to confiscate the phones and take them to the office, and then the parent must come pick the phone up.
     
  39. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    I guess I don't really see the educational benefits of the pop question text? Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

    Cellphones do not belong at school, if students choose to bring them they should remain in their backpacks turned off or on vibrate. This issue doesn't stop at elementary, I have many students bringing in cellphones on a daily basis.
     
  40. scienceteacher1

    scienceteacher1 New Member

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    Originally Posted by mmswm
    We have a well written and enforced policy.

    first offense: confiscated and child can pick it up at the end of the day

    Second offense: confiscated and parent must pick it up no earlier than dismissal that day. Parents must sign a form stating that they understand that any further offenses will result in the phone being confiscated until the end of the school year and we are not repsonsible for any fees or charges incurred due to the loss of the phone or loss of use of the phone.

    Third offense: Confiscated until the end of the school year.

    Fourth offense: (this happens when parents replace the phone), child is expelled (I'm in what's best described as a magnet school).


    the fourth offense is a little extreme seriousily expelled and i think taking their phone for the rest of the year wow is bad .:dizzy:
     
  41. historygrrl

    historygrrl Rookie

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    I have to agree with Crzy ArtTeacher. A kid texts to another kid in another room for the answers and interferes with that class - don't see the value in that.

    Cell phone usages is rampant in our school. We give the students a warning. If they don't put it away, we can take it away. Sometimes I hand it over to the P or AP, sometimes I keep it. If I keep it, it goes into a locked drawer until the end of the day.

    Problems arise when the students refuse to put it away until you go to take it then they become aggressive. One kid actually went over to my desk, trying to open drawers and kicking stuff so she could take something from me since I took her phone. Did I mention this is a 7th grader?

    I also disagree with parents calling/texting during school. Everyone thinks their child would never have it on, and while some kids are honest and good about it, most are not. It disrupts class, plain and simple. We got along without a phone glued to our ear 24/7 for centuries. Surely, parents can go without contact for a few hours each day. If they want to talk to their children all day then maybe they should think about homeschooling. Sorry if that sounds harsh but the phones are driving me insane!
     

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