Letter to the editor about cellphones in school

I sent in this letter to the Chicago Tribune today in response this to this article: http://trib.in/qpHxBJ 

Dear Editor,

I was thoroughly disgusted with the article “School makes call: Teens can hold on to cellphones,” by Bridget Doyle, published Sunday, October 9, 2011 (Section 1, page 20). The headline itself made my blood boil. The headline should have been “Teens win: Schools hang up backbone.”

First off, this is clearly a case of administration not wanting to take a stand against teens. Schools that claim technology is the reason for allowing the use of cellphones is garbage. I think these schools have lowered their standards, threw up their hands and said “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” The article states “…Maine Township High School District 207…loosened its rules…after school officials…pointed out most students didn’t follow it anyway.”

Not only is the whole issue disturbing in that teens are making the rules, but also in the case of status symbols. School is hard enough for some teens, just trying to fit in with their peers. Some kids don’t come from families with money to spend on brand name clothing or shoes. Now, they not only have to worry about merely owning a cellphone, but also having a cool one.

Lastly, allowing cellphones at school creates a whole new cost factor to institutions that need money to be spent on learning. It is also not affecting just Chicago-area residents, but every city in America as well. My mom for example teaches middle school in a suburb of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The school budget has no room for school supplies, so year after year, my mom spends her own money to purchase materials for her classes and her students.

The final statement in the article refers to the cost. Marge McMahon, a teacher has noticed the school’s wireless network has slowed tremendously. Bill Walsh, an assistant principal stated that bandwidth “is something we are looking into...Questions like, ‘When we max connectivity, what are we going to do?’ ”

I don’t think schools should allow kids to have cellphones in school. This issue is not something to take lightly. Nor does it only affect people who work in schools, or teens, or the parents of teens. It will affect everyone’s wallets. Money talks. So maybe we should too.

Audrey Schroder