Student Suspended For Mother's Phone Call From Iraq

from the how-nice dept

There's a big trend these days to completely ban mobile phones in schools, or to suspend students who use the phones in ways that seem appropriate. The latest such example is a student who has been suspended for taking a phone call from his mother -- who is stationed in Iraq. He did so during lunch time, not during a class. However, the school's rules prohibit using phones during school hours, so a teacher told him to stop. The student apparently became upset, and the school is defending its actions by saying they didn't necessarily suspend him for taking a phone call, but for the way he responded to the teacher who told him to hang up the phone. Of course, if it weren't for the teacher telling him to hang up, he wouldn't have become so angry. Either way, this seems like a case where letting the student take the phone call, and letting the matter go would have made a lot more sense.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Lucas, May 6th, 2005 @ 10:24am

    The overreaction award goes to... this kid's schoo

    It seems that in most situations, a set of policies (whether it's for school, government, or whatever), should provide guidelines for behaviour. It seems too often that the enforcement of policies supersedes all reason.

    Can't the school chalk this up to a simple misunderstanding (and given the unusual and understandable circumstances on the kid's part), just let him finish his year? It's a cell phone for God's sake.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Michael De Muth, May 6th, 2005 @ 11:16am

    It’s called consequences for ones actions

    And life is full of them. The policies about cell phone use were known. The policies for being defiant and disorderly were known. That the teacher is in charge was known. The kid decided that it just didn’t apply to him. Now he knows otherwise.

    Is the punishment a little on the harsh side? Yes, it is. Would it be nice for the school to cut him some slack? Yes, it would be. But it must be kept in the forefront of the discussion that what the kid did was wrong, and while there are extenuating circumstances, it is not an excuse.

    And don’t even get me started with ‘if it weren't for the teacher…’. Please. ‘If the cops would just stop pulling me over for speeding, I wouldn’t need to scream at them for giving me another ticket.’ They are doing their jobs, just like the teacher was. That is what we pay them to do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Jon Wolff, May 6th, 2005 @ 11:20am

    Banning Cellphones

    I have noticed this trend as well. At my highschool for the first year cell-phones became widely used they tried to ban the use of them and threatened to take any students cell phone they saw them using. They caught on rather quickly and changed their policy to no cell phone use during instruction. They realized this "problem" was not going to go away so they decided to allow the use of the phones during lunch and passing periods.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Boilerbob, May 6th, 2005 @ 11:25am

    Zero tolerance

    This is my objection to all the zero tolerance rules and laws that are so popular today. Yes the kid violated a rule but many people might do the same in his shoes. The punishment just doesn't fit the crime. My favorite quote is "we didn't have him arrested in cause of his mother being in Iraq we didn't want any undue hardship". That's pretty nice of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    TeeKay, May 6th, 2005 @ 11:34am

    Re: It’s called consequences for ones actions

    What this guy wrote is complete horseshit.

    Teachers have ALWAYS been power junkies - however with the advant of mobile technology, they are more and more being held accountable for their actions. This policy is also a bunch of garbage. Imposing a "martial law" that does not allow calls to be taken is just another power-trip to make sure the kids are in control. Now that teacher is lucky I wasn't that kid ~LOL~ I would have punched the living shit out of 'em.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Michael De Muth, May 6th, 2005 @ 11:55am

    And I would like to thank you

    for showing us all why we have zero-tolerance rules at schools. And why, as the article pointed out, there are times the students are arrested and not just marched to the office. A few rotten apples (violent ones at that) have brought it done on all.
    Are teachers ‘power junkies’? Some are, some are not. It is the same with cops, executives, managers, or anyone else in a position of authority. However, to many high-school students, the perception is there and nothing will change it.
    And yet, this is of no consequence. The teacher is in charge. And the students, while they can certainly file a complaint later, are bound to follow their instructions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Daranthalis, May 6th, 2005 @ 12:20pm

    Re: And I would like to thank you

    "They are doing their jobs, just like the teacher was. That is what we pay them to do."

    Actually, we pay teachers to do something called 'teach'. It's where the person hired to 'teach' explains things to people who don't yet understand them. A teacher trolling the cafeteria looking for cell phones isn't teaching, and isn't doing what I damn well pay him or her to do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    thecaptain, May 6th, 2005 @ 12:32pm

    Re: It’s called consequences for ones actions

    Wahh wahhh wahh...
    you sound like a 14 yo who's pissed because authority figures won't let him run around and be an ass all day.

    Face it, while most kids are generally ok, some run amok. That requires rules, so basically the jerks ruin it for the rest.

    Now that there are rules, there's always a subset of the jerks around that I like to call rule-lawyers. They always think shit doesn't apply to them and they push and they push...then when they are caught and called on it, they whine JUST LIKE YOU.

    Waaaaah wahhhh teachers are power junkies, wahhh wahhh all cops are corrupt because they arrested me when I swore at them...waaaah wahhhh where's my welfare check?

    Grow up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Michael De Muth, May 6th, 2005 @ 1:04pm

    Re: And I would like to thank you

    Actually, we pay teachers to do a lot more then teach. Supervising the cafeteria, namely making sure that students are where they are supposed to be, monitoring behavior and the like, is hardly 'trolling the cafeteria'. It's part of the job.

    I would also like to point out that if your kid got punched in the mouth during an altercation at lunch, you’d be right there to sue the teacher for not maintaining control. I know I would be. But you can't have it both ways. Either teachers are in charge, and have the authority to maintain discipline, or you should just dump your kids off at the park for the day.
    I’m not saying it is all one sided. A teacher is not God, and not always going to be right. There should be ways to raise complaints against a teacher, to discipline teachers who overstep the bounds. That, however, is an after the fact thing. If an Officer arrests me for what I think is an irrelevant reason, resisting arrest is still illegal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    skippy voles, May 6th, 2005 @ 1:36pm

    Re: And I would like to thank you

    ...And Michael illustrates why my child doesn't go to public schools.

    Zero tolerance means talking on the phone is the same as punching someone in the mouth at these fine institutions of "education".

    Public school is nothing but indoctrination.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2005 @ 2:01pm

    No Subject Given

    Something is wrong with this. A school is supposed to teach and prepare students for real life, but it never does, and this 'cell phone policy' is a prime example of that.
    I mean, banned because students use them to cheat on tests? Have they never heard of people using technology to get ahead? Reminds me of when I was in school and calculators were banned (instead of teaching you to use them better). It's no surprise that some of the most successfull people never finished school, with all that lack of encouragement to use new things...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    thecaptain, May 6th, 2005 @ 3:14pm

    Re: And I would like to thank you

    He was giving an example...no one said that punching a kid in the mouth was the same.

    Seriously, teachers have a tough job, they educate the spoiled spawn of people who 90% of the time SHOULD NOT BREED.

    If you think school is indoctrination its because of idiot parents who treat the school as a babysitter, who BELIEVE their kids are angels and refuse to take any responsibility for their upbringing...yet will be the first to scream when the kid is victimized or can't read.

    We've gone way too far in the worship of our kids and we've now got a generation that's rapidly out of control. Courtesy and respect which is in VERY short supply these days in generation X is totally absent in the "me me ME" generation.

    THAT, my friend is why you think school is indoctrination, THAT is why they end up being run like prison camps, because of the way our kids (and their parents) act.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Michael Vilain, May 6th, 2005 @ 3:17pm

    Why was the cell phone even turned on during schoo

    What would have happened if the kid had motioned the teacher over, interrupted the conversation and said "Mom, would you talk to my teacher?" and handed the phone to the teacher. If the teacher just hung it up, without even talking to the mom, then there might be grounds for discussions in the VP's office with the VP and the teacher.

    The VP tried to propose a schedule where his mom could call him and it wouldn't be a problem. But the kid mouthed off and got all abusive which changed the whole situation.

    What cop is going to give you a pass on a ticket if you're an asshole? 10 days suspension seems excessive, but in the long run, cheap, for this life lesson in controlling your temper.

    If students are allowed to have cell phones to use them "to coordinate with parents after school", why did this kid even have it turned on?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    thecaptain, May 6th, 2005 @ 3:18pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Then I SINCERELY hope you don't teach your kids yourself. They won't be good for anything but welfare since they won't have the skills to run a cash register...

    Calculators are a crutch. The mind is a muscle, if you don't use it, you lose it. If a kid from day one uses a calculator for math, he'll be an adult who can't do basic multiplication...if tests are always open book, he'll never internalize and be able to apply information given....

    YES, they should be taught to use technology for their advantage...but that's a far cry to letting them cheat on tests with cellphones, calculators and computers...c'mon. You can't be that stupid...or maybe you were allowed calculators since grade four and open book tests til you graduated?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    jayrtfm, May 6th, 2005 @ 3:25pm

    Re: It’s called consequences for ones actions

    "I would have punched the living shit out of 'em."
    niiicee... expressed like a true sociopath

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    anonymoose cow-ard, May 7th, 2005 @ 9:57am

    CNN has a much better article on this...

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/05/06/call.suspension.ap/index.html

    Parham said the teen's suspension was based on his reaction to the teacher's request. He said the teen used profanity when taken to the office.

    "Kevin got defiant and disorderly," Parham said. "When a kid becomes out of control like that they can either be arrested or suspended for 10 days. Now being that his mother is in Iraq, we're not trying to cause her any undue hardship; he was suspended for 10 days."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    mamoo, May 7th, 2005 @ 1:01pm

    Re: CNN has a much better article on this...

    Thats the whole point here - the kid was NOT suspended for having the phone. He WAS suspended for the way he reacted when caught with the phone during times which it was meant to be (at least) turned off. The school has rules which he chose to ignore, he knew the risk he was running by doing this and getting abusive about it does nothing to help the matter. He deserves what he gets if you ask me. Has he just accepted the he was to be punished in the first place there wouldnt be such a big deal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    jackiebarnard, May 8th, 2005 @ 7:44pm

    suspension of student for taking mother's call

    We need to write the school hundreds, thousands,millions of letters telling them how dispicable their actions were. What if that mother never gets to speak to her son again and a parent's directive is to be "obeyed" before a teacher's; otherwise the school system is teaching the kids to disrespect their parents and that teachers rule. That teacher should be fired. Does anyone have the e-mail address of the school board? and/or the school. everyone needs to write them instead of editorials to each other.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    thecaptain, May 9th, 2005 @ 4:52am

    Re: suspension of student for taking mother's call

    I'm sorry, did you READ the link?

    If I write the school its to get them to be tougher on the smartass punk. His behavior was inexcusable. (Nothing at all to do with the cellphone call)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Three Men In A Boat, May 9th, 2005 @ 5:40am

    Re: Student Suspended For Mother's Phone Call From

    The lesson here is that everyday life can lead you into situations where rules need to be bent, and it's the job of grown-up humans to be sensitive to that. The student could've anticipated the issue and used the procedures already in place at the school to avoid the problem. But the teacher also has the responsibility to use adult judgment... in this case, attempting to grab the phone from the student was irresponsible as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    PB, May 9th, 2005 @ 6:53am

    Re: It’s called consequences for ones actions

    TeeKay said:"Now that teacher is lucky I wasn't that kid ~LOL~ I would have punched the living shit out of 'em."

    And had you been the student and done something that stupidly heinous I, or someone like me, would have been very happy to respond to the school, place you in handcuffs, and take you to the local precinct to book you for assault. [and if 16 or over, press as hard as I could to have you prosecuted as an adult]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    PB, May 9th, 2005 @ 6:58am

    Re: And I would like to thank you

    Daranthalis stated: "
    Actually, we pay teachers to do something called 'teach'. It's where the person hired to 'teach' explains things to people who don't yet understand them. A teacher trolling the cafeteria looking for cell phones isn't teaching, and isn't doing what I damn well pay him or her to do."

    No offense meant but the statement above is clueless.

    We pay teachers to do the job as outlined by the local schoolboards policies, and lately that would seem to mean doing anything other then teaching.

    I am sure there was a policy in place. I am sure the teacher was assigned to monitor the lunchroom. As I am equally sure that had a supervisor come past, seen the cellphone in use, and taken note that the teacher had done nothing about it, chastized said teacher for failing to perform his/her duties.

    In these days when schools have replaced parents who have abdicated their parental chores and teachers and cops act in loco parentis to try and fill the gaps, this doesn't surprise me much at all.

    Its sad actually.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Bill Ray, May 9th, 2005 @ 10:16am

    cell phone student

    Maybe if the student would have told the teaher who he was talking to this would have never happened.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    kim possible, Jan 25th, 2006 @ 1:34pm

    this one teacher is a mean devil

    Hi i have a friend who goes on my bus and he has such a bitch as devilish teacher that he is one ha/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This