Before this week, only Atlanta Public School System’s high school students were allowed to bring cellphones to school. But with the recent security scares on campus, the Atlanta Public School Board has decided to lift its ban on cellphones for lower grades. Once the ground rules are set, elementary and middle school students will be allowed to bring their cellphones to school as long as their parents request a waiver.
Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Stephen Alford told the Atlanta Journal and Constitution on Tuesday, “Deputy Superintendent Karen Waldon told principals that elementary and middle school students will be allowed to bring cellphones to school if they have written permission from their parents and keep them turned off during the school day”.
But while many parents are relieved by the news, especially in light of two recent school shootings on APS campuses, members of the Atlanta Federation of Teachers are not smiling at all. The local chapter of the Federation of Teachers says the use of these electronic devices among young students is a classroom distraction. The debate is still strong among National Federation of Teacher members. However, in a statement released by the Atlanta chapter, the consensus is that APS should reverse its decision.
Whereas, we understand that the superintendent may be charged with constructing a regulation in regards to APS’ existing cell phone policy, the AFT is requesting that the Atlanta School Board disallow cell phones on school grounds and within school buildings by students. (Change the existing policy.)
The full statement can be read on the AJC’s Get Schooled Blog and includes reasons why cellphones are a bad idea.
Across Metro Atlanta, school districts follow various rules for cellphone use among students. For example, in Forsyth County students have been allowed to abided by BYOT or “Bring Your Own Technology” to school for five years. According to 11Alive reporter Donna Lowry, Forsyth educators say it’s an excellent teaching tool. See the featured 11Alive video story.
What do you think? Are cellphones a good idea for all grade level students to bring to school or a bad idea?