Principal Installs Cellphone Jammer But Forgets To Check If It's Legal

from the whoops,-forgot-about-that-law-thing dept

Many educators are having trouble figuring out how to handle electronic devices in the classroom. Some have been educating students on the negative effects, encouraging them to regulate their own use. Others have even highlighted possible applications for mobile devices in the classroom. Though, many just try to ban everything. A principal in British Columbia took his school’s ban to a new level by setting up a cellphone jammer. There was just one problem — the device is illegal in Canada. The principal had ordered the Chinese device online, but some angry students were quick to find out and inform him that he was breaking the law. So much for that idea. Now, he’s left looking pretty bad while cellphone use in school now seems like some kind of civil rights issue to some students.

It seems like this is less about the cellphone ban and more about maintaining authority in the school. On that front… this completely backfired. Plenty of schools have effective cellphone bans without resorting to technological blocks (I attended such a high school). Maybe the principal should explain to students and teachers why cellphones are a problem, set some reasonable guidelines for use and some reasonable consequences for violations of the policy. That would probably go a lot further to establish the principal’s authority and gain his students’ respect than installing an illegal device and being forced to backtrack ever could.

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Comments on “Principal Installs Cellphone Jammer But Forgets To Check If It's Legal”

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LJSeinfeld says:

Re: Re:

Because YOU don’t have the right to prevent other people from legally using the radio spectrum.

What if there was an emergency and people couldn’t get calls in or out of the area because some douche was playing with his latest radio shack experiement? Lawsuits would fly — at least in the US.

If the school has a no cellphone policy, the way to enforce it would be the good ol’ fashioned way — turn it over and you can pick it up in the office when you go home for the day.

Spectere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

What did people do before cell phones and they had an emergency? They didn’t run to get their cellphones, that’s for sure. They ran to the nearest land line.

Last I checked, cell phone jammers don’t block landlines.

Picture this, if you will. I’m taking a walk in front of the school and my cell phone suddenly cuts out because of the jammer. Why on earth should I be affected by some half-brained, poorly-thought attempt to get kids to stop texting in class?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I agree that the emergency call argument is weak, but also irrelevant.

As someone else asked, what right do YOU, or anyone else, have to prevent another person from making lawful use of radio spectrum pursuant an FCC license (held by the carrier in the case of cell phones)? I suppose if there was a machine that could limit the jamming JUST to the phones of students, and JUST to the premises of the school building, there might be an argument. But no such jammer exists. They block everyone’s calls, including visitors’ and teachers’, and they jam or interfere with calls near, but outside, the school’s property.

Bottom line: absent an FCC regulation or federal statute, a school administrator does not have the authority to prohibit what the federal government (via the FCC) expressly permits — use of licensed frequencies for commercial mobile service.

Mike P says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

and hereto lies the problem…

who ever said that high school students have “rights”? this idea spawned in the 60’s with the rest of the crap thats ruining the country, is THE problem. I’m not talking about basic fundemental rights. But is it a RIGHT for a HS studrent to be able to use a cell phoine in school? absolutely NOT. At that age they confuse rights with privledges. Let me end with this…….how did this country get by all these years and spawn some of the greatest people this country has ever known and WILL EVER KNOW without cell phones in schools? Seems to me its just all part of the decline of education in America and the dumbing down. Sad indeed.

BTR1701 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:Jammers

> I suppose if there was a machine that could limit the
> jamming JUST to the phones of students, and JUST to the
> premises of the school building, there might be an argument.
> But no such jammer exists. They block everyone’s calls,
> including visitors’ and teachers’, and they jam or interfere with
> calls near, but outside, the school’s property.

There is a way to do this, but probably not for a school setting. Let’s take this argument from a school to a movie theater, where inappropriate cell phone use during movies has basically driven myself and everyone I know away from the movie-going experience.

It would be a simple matter to install a jammer with an operational radius of only so many feet, such that it would encompass the majority of seats in a theater but no more than that. If the theater owner than posted signs at the box office and on the theater doors that cell phone jammers are in use inside the theaters, then people would be on notice that they would either have to get up and go to the lobby to make calls, text people, etc. or they could go find somewhere else to watch the movie if being able to read every single e-mail or take every single call in real time is that important to them.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me (it is the theater owner’s private property, after all) but such a set-up is currently illegal. I don’t think it should be illegal.

Irene (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Cell Phones Signal Jammer is seen as property theft, because a private company has purchased the rights to the radio spectrum, and jamming the spectrum is akin to stealing the property the company has purchased. It also represents a safety hazard because jamming blocks all calls in the area, not just the annoying ones. Jamming a signal could block the call of a babysitter frantically trying to contact a parent or a someone trying to call for an ambulance.
Obviously,the principal has not only violated the rights of students as a citizen,but also Breaking the law.

john says:

wow, people. Jamming is illegal because of its negative effects on the spectrum including legal, and necessary communications not just for the students. Though these kids shouldn’t have cell phones in class in the first place, there had to be a smarter solution, such a confiscation or suspension program for students with cell phones in class. A Faraday cage system might have been effective as well and would not hold the legal issues. Ultimately the school needs to teach these kids to put their toys away when they are supposed to be working.

David says:

Re: Re:

It doesn’t work, they still will use them. Teachers will get 2/100 which are being used. Towards the end of the week they get tired of conficating cell phones so they don’t. Swearing becomes more ‘open’, and other innapropriate activities are permitted, in crisis. When there is a situation they cannot clone themselves. Having the students dis-like you will get the teacher eventually fired. Last Cell phones are not toys. They can be dangerous, as batteries can explode, ignite.

Anyomous Authority says:


In the U.S. Schools and Government Buildings can use cell phone jammers with permit by the FCC and other agencies. Cell phones are consider a hazard in threats to the school. It brings others into a dangerous area. Cell phones use could also set of devices. So it is good to hear a principal was trying to do the right thing.

Michael says:

Re: jammerz r just the tip of the iceberg

There ARE jammers that stop the cities camera’s from transmitting there data, as all the ones in my city do it wirelessly, mine is the size of a pack of cigarettes and has about a 200 meter radius. So when I am within 200 meters of the cameras they stop sending the data to the monitoring station, and since the recording is done at the receiving end, there is no record of me walking through.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Cement...

We just recently built a bunch of schools in Georgia and Florida that incorporated permitted jamers and faraday cages around the entire building. Not only that, we built in Killzone security zones where students are locked into a lexan room and have to turn over all of their belongings for search. This prevents all contraband in the building. The staff and faculty also have their own entrance where they are searched for items. This prevents any kind of contraband from entering.

The great thing about the killzones is that students are in a protective environment and cannot leave in the event they are found to have banned or illegal substances. They remain in the zone until the police arrive. This prevents harm to others in the process as well.

Another feature is that Students are not allowed to leave the buildings during school. They have to be let out by the security officers at the door with proper ID and paperwork allowing them to leave. So ditching school after homeroom is gone.

willyu says:

Re: Re: Re: Cement...

It’s sad to see how someone is so selfish that they feel that if they have enough money to circle themselves in a tiny little world, they can ignore everything that’s going on outside their world.

I understand your desire to protect your child but it’s demeaning to call a public school, where majority of people in this world attended, a prison. Yes it’s very draconian, but you seems to ignore why this kind of measure is needed. It’s not the school that failed, but it’s the society and the parents, especially the parents, failed.

BTR1701 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Cement...

> I understand your desire to protect your child but it’s
> demeaning to call a public school, where majority of
> people in this world attended, a prison

I attended a public school and it was nothing like the hell that was described above. Any time you have students in things called “kill zones” and the faculty itself is being patted down each day, then you’re no longer running a school. It *is* a prison and yes, that’s a demeaning term but it’s also an appropriate one. Such a facility deserves to be demeaned.

Hell, I’m a cop myself so I’m certainly not anti-law enforcement but like Dustin, I’d certainly never send any of my kids to an institution like the one described in the initial response above.

Mike P says:

Yeah…tough one. I feel bad for the guy. What with students acting lke they run the school these days and parents who dont reinforce what the school is doing, makes it very difficult for the school. Then those same people are quick to blame the school when their kid turns out to be a moron. Cell phones/PDA’s have become a drug of sorts to many of these kids. They are obsessed with them because their brains have been programmed by the big cell carriers, who are akin to drug dealers. Now I know there are still alot of good kids who follow the rules. But witha wife who is a HS guidance coulselor some of the things I hear…using phones/PDA’s to cheat, to take upskirt shots of girls and send them around to everyone within minutes, takie pics of them having sex somewhere in the school as a joke or just texting all day back and forth to their friends who they just saw at lunch. They are a big problem and a distraction and the kids know how to get around the rules. (Think when you were in HS). The only way to guarantee they aren’t a problem is to jam. Solves the whole problem. Only thing I have an issue with is during an emergency, I could care less about the cell companies owning the air space. The jamming is local. They just dont want to lose one precious cent of revenue…the kids wont be able to use their “drug”. Dont piss off the drug dealer!

Sean says:

Re: Re:

The best solution is to take the phones from the students if they are being disruptive. If they are just distracting them selves teach the class in a way that they will fail for not paying attention. How could this be done put things on the test that were only in the lecture and not the book and if the class is not paying attention do a pop quiz in the last 5min of class that covers the material just taught.

Cory says:

Re: Re: Re:

You obviously aren’t a teacher. Where it seems that EVERYTHING done in the classroom is under the government’s eye. Too many failing students? Bye bye teacher… sorry your students didn’t get the message the first time they failed a quiz because of their addiction to texting. If you were a teacher, you would realize that many kids don’t care about failing grades anymore. However, it’s still your fault when they don’t pass no matter how hard you’re trying to get them to pay attention.

Blaise Alleyne (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The only way to guarantee they aren’t a problem is to jam. Solves the whole problem.

Solves the whole problem? Really? Sounds to me like the electronics are just a means through which bad behaviour is expressed, not the cause of it. That’s treating the symptoms. You don’t think there are ways to misbehave without electronics? Would you ban pens and paper if kids draw mean pictures to make fun of teachers or other students or pass notes in class?

Is this a technological problem or a behavioural problem?

Tgeigs says:


I think there’s an inherent amount of humor that goes along with someone from an older generation trying to use technological means to prevent a younger generation from using a particular piece of technology. Can’t you just sense that the old guys are gonna lose?

I mean REALLY, Mr. Belding? You’re really gonna rest your hopes on keeping kids from using wireless devices w/a cell phone jammer? You, and I’m assuming you look like the admin from The Breakfast Club here, are going to utilize technology to inhibit the use of other technology by the generation that single handedly is redefining the music/entertainment industry?

Well best of luck to you, ey?

And, btw, Blaise Alleyne? That’s the single coolest name I’ve ever seen. Sounds like the French name of a superhero that shoots fire out of his ass or something….

Blaise Alleyne (profile) says:

Re: Hysterical

And, btw, Blaise Alleyne? That’s the single coolest name I’ve ever seen. Sounds like the French name of a superhero that shoots fire out of his ass or something….

LOL. I’ll take that as a compliment? I get a lot of comments about my name (usually, “is that your real name?” or “blaze? do you smoke pot?”)… but that was one of the most original I’ve ever heard. Nice one, Tgeigs.

Yakko Warner says:

Get off my lawn!

Plenty of schools have effective cellphone bans without resorting to technological blocks (I attended such a high school).

When I was in high school, cell phones were still the domain of rich businessmen, were larger than a breadbox, and were “portable” either by being carried by two hands or installed in a vehicle. A cell phone on a student in a high school just didn’t happen.

Great, I feel really old now.

superdude says:

I distinctly remember the only reason Denver Police found out about the Columbine shooting was students with cell phones, as the first thing the shooters did was shoot up the office. I got out of school on a half day and it was all over the news that afternoon live. Seriously I do not see how cell phones can be a bad thing. I understand they can be a bad thing if students refuse to turn them off, but to have them?

Brett Jones (user link) says:

Safe and Legal Alternative

Jamming poses a serious safety risk for the students, staff, and anyone else that the jamming range bleeds over too. It’s a draconian way of trying to fix the problem – it blocks all signals on all phones.

Blocking the signal with special paint or trying to block it with metal roof liners, etc. is also a security risk for anyone in the buildings. Parents would be very upset if they couldn’t reach their children in an emergency and it leaves the school open to liability.

There is a need to limit phone functionality on a controllable level and we’ve invented such a product: Zone of Silence ( ZoS is an elegant way of controlling individual functionalities on mobile phones. For example, schools can limit the student’s cell phones to only call/text their parents while allowing the staff’s cell phone to work unrestricted. Or, they could restrict all phones, or maybe just the camera from working in the locker rooms. More importantly, 911 is never blocked. In an emergency, our device is shut down remotely to allow all phones to go back to an unrestricted state.

We are several months from a commercial version but please visit our website’s contact us page to be kept up to date on progress.

Almost Anonymous says:

Re: Safe and Legal Alternative

Shenanigans. There is no freaking way that you can claim to have that kind of root-level control of cell-phones, much less PDAs and other devices. The only way I could even VAGUELY see something like this being attempted would require modification of software on the devices which opens an even bigger can of worms.

Anonymous Coward says:

faraday's cages / hurricane proof buildings

cell phones don’t work indoors at a lot of schools in florida regardless of jammers. because a lot of schools are used as hurricane shelters, many were built with extra plating/girders in the walls/ceiling and it’s difficult to get a signal through at all. many schools were rebuilt or reinforced after the last few heavy hurricane seasons too.

but also remember that florida schools are not designed like schools up north. most florida schools just have the classrooms indoors. all the hallways are open air, even on the second floor.

willyu (profile) says:

out of control

I wonder why not a lot of people be sympathetic to the principal? To go to this kind of extreme you can just imagine how many other methods he has tried.

Yes, it would seen to be more appropriate to attempt to “reason” with the students and try to “educate” them about why one should not use cellphones during class/at school. But seriously people, all of you have been teenagers before. Have you ever really listened to your parents/teachers/figure of authority and happily accept all these rules and regulations they said is good for you?

I am not saying the principal should be doing this but I do believe that cellphone really have no place in a school setting. One of the girl interviewed at the school argues that she needs it in case of an emergency. I fail to see how emergency an “emergency” would be that a parent cannot call the school to relay the message. it’s not like the staff will withheld the message for a couple hours before contacting the student. other way around, it’s easy for school to contact the parents’ cellphone is something comes up. Honestly, how many people truly believe that this girl would only use the phone just for emergencies… she’ll probably use it for some sexting if that’s the trend in the school. She even admit it herself that she’s using it in class to organize events after school with friends…

It’s so easy to spot the error of the principal. However, if YOU truly are a PARENT that cares about your children, you should ask WHY this is happening and if this is INDICATIVE of something that’s happening and HOW you can HELP, in legal ways, instead of letting the principal and school facing this battle themselves and fail. After all, it’s your children that gets HURT when the school fails.

If a principal had to go to this kind of extreme to control a problem, YOU AS A PARENT HAVE ALREADY FAILED YOUR CHILD.

Blaise Alleyne (profile) says:

Re: out of control

willyu, I agree with you for the most part (especially that parents should take responsibility too).

But there’s one thing I disagree with:

Yes, it would seen to be more appropriate to attempt to “reason” with the students and try to “educate” them about why one should not use cellphones during class/at school. But seriously people, all of you have been teenagers before. Have you ever really listened to your parents/teachers/figure of authority and happily accept all these rules and regulations they said is good for you?

I certainly don’t think you can expect all high school students to be reasonable, but… I think the issue is that, as an authority figure, you want (and need) the respect of your students in order to maintain your authority. That doesn’t mean that they have to like you (they probably won’t!), and it may even largely be out of fear, but they have to respect you, to take you seriously.

And… how can you expect someone to respect you, if you don’t respect them?

This incident backfired in a way that undermined that respect, in both ways.

To implement reasonable rules and consequences doesn’t mean that you expect all students to persuaded by them, but that you can students to respect them, at least in general. For example, if the rule is “don’t use a cell phone on an exam,” students might disrespect the rules, but what reason do they really have in most cases beyond cheating? It’s pretty hard to complain meaningfully when you get caught… But if your principal installs an illegal device to control your use, it gets students up in arms and grants legitimacy to their opposition.

I think the important thing when dealing with these challenges is that… what may seem to be the easy technical solution may undermine more important things, like building respect for authority.

Mikey Boy says:

Re: Re:

“but have to be off unless your’re expecting a call”….unbelievable.

(Teacher)So little Aiden what is the square root of 16?..(Little Aiden)..the square root of 16 is RIIIIING! (or worse yet some god awful rap song)….
(Little Aiden)excuse me teach I have to take this call its important…!! Can you just freakin imagine? The dumbing down of America continues…..

Clueby4 says:

Passive jamming is legal

Passive jamming is legal (faraday, paint, etc) so those who “feel” it’s wrong start squirting your tears now.

Emergency!? please STFU!? Most reasonable people can detect the BS from that argument, what if the earth is consumed by stranglets, oh noes!!!

There is not one legitimate reason for students to have a cell phone, emergency is a bogus and hollow excuse. Frankly anyone claims the “safety” reason as a valid excuse is obtuse; if you’re worried about safety then YTF aren’t you homeschooling?

Anonymous Coward says:

I fully intend for my kids to have cell phones once they’re in school. It may be one of those Firefly things or something, but I want them to have a phone. Yes it is a safety issue. I want them to be able to make calls in an emergency, and I want to be able to call them if needed (at least to leave a message or whatever).

And I would be mad as hell if some asshole principal or whoever blocked it or took it away without good reason.

Of course, I’m a responsible parent, and I will beat the shit out of my kids if they do stupid stuff they’re not supposed to. Okay I won’t really beat the shit out of them, but there will be appropriate punishment for misbehavior.

Anyway, yeah. Take the damn phones away when kids use them when they’re not supposed to. Imagine that.

JMC says:

Blockers are fine when used wisely

I break the law regularly. As a substitute teacher, students don’t give me even a fraction of the respect normal teachers get. And since I’m usually in a class for just a day, there is no time to establish the “no cellphones” rule without ending up with an armful of phones each period and no time to get through the material. So I bought a jammer. It works great. And through careful experimentation, I’ve found that the jamming never extends beyond the walls of the room. This may not be the case for every jammer and every room, but with some careful planning, every teacher could have a personal jammer that does NOT interfere with anyone’s signal except the students, and with an easily accessible on/off switch for when it is not needed or in an emergency.

Anonymous Coward says:

I am still amazed at how many will flat out refuse to hand over the phone when politely asked. This is in a school where the policy is “one and done” — which means the phone is taken to the office if I see it so much as out on the desk. The requisite verbal warnings before writing referrals are time out from working with those who want to learn.

Talking to my advisory group of 9th graders, I learned that many students (about 40 per cent) sent an average of 15,000 per month with their unlimited plans. Talking with colleagues, most guesses (about quantity of messages) were off by two orders of magnitude. Talking with my Honors class later that day, one of the upper classmen said, Oh, that’s nothing, I once sent 28,000 in a month. Oddly enough these students had terrible academic records.

As for using the devices’ non-messaging capabilities. Bah. The canard of “I’m using the calculator on my phone” is balderdash. I provide simple scientific calculators for every student. Don’t like the policy? Too bad. Complain hard enough and you can use the six-foot slide rule that hangs on the wall.

I’m ready to line the walls in copper foil and/or mesh.

Robert says:

cell phone jammers

Just as others with cell phones assume it is their right to use cell phones anywhere, including driving, it is also my right to protect myself from accidents and obtrusive conversations in close prosimity of my designated space. I have not sold or relenquished my rights to peace and quite for others to interfere with my solace. There are rights on both sides of the issue and I feel my rights are being taken from me when my life and privacy are violated. No business has the right to take my rights for profit or interference.

Legalizing jammers would not interfere with businesses selling their services, they just have to sell it outside my domain of privacy and safety. Jammers can save more lives and damage than it can serve as a 911 call that can be placed on land lines more safely.

The current FCC law was written decades ago before the burst of cell phones and maybe its time for some changes in that law to preclude others from interfering with safety and commerce and privacy. If the law doesn’t fit then change the law and get rid of the archaic existing law.

Micahel Carusso says:


I am a high school teacher and 2 years ago my district banned us from confiscating or “taking possession of” a student’s cell phone. Parents argued that we were taking the student’s personal property, and accused teachers of looking through the phone’s pics/videos. Students don’t even try to hide them anymore and the most we can do is write them up, which would take up over an hour of my day if I actually attempted it. The worst part is it is usually the parents texting or calling during class.

Teach1 says:

I am a teacher. In our school we can only confiscate phones for the class period, then have to return them, and issue a Saturday d-hall. We used to be able to confiscate them and turn them into the office, and then parents had to pick them up. The second time, they had to pay a fine. Many schools in our area still use that system. A phone was supposedly lost after confiscation at our school, so we no longer can keep them all day. We educate our students about the rules at the beginning of the year. Students are not supposed to have ANY electronic devices (this will cover the “it’s not a cell phone” defense when we catch a student with an I-pod) turned on and in use during school hours. They largely ignore this rule. They are able to text in their pockets blindly. They go to the restroom and text students sitting in classes.
Now to address how this is a “bad” thing. Students send each other answers to the tests they just took. It doesn’t matter what materials the teacher uses for the tests. Students go to the restroom and video themselves fighting (our school was in the news for this). Students take sexually explicit pictures and send them to each other. Students are distracting their friends while they are in a class where they should be paying attention. Students video teachers in classes (a legal violation)and upload them to YouTube. Students have even been known to take upskirt pictures of teachers and pass them on to their friends. (Also a legal violation, and a vioation in many other ways that we won’t go into here) Students use bandwidth that interferes with our computers. This has been the most serious issue, ever since the proliferation of cell phones and other electronic handheld devices that have internet access. Also, if a student is taking a test they don’t need a text from a friend. Can you say “Google”? This is true during lessons also. When a teacher asks a question that should require contemplation and critical thinking skills; students are looking the answers up on their phones.
As to why cell phones are necessary, I cannot think of one reason. As other people have pointed out, we did not always have cell phones and we managed just fine. I have a cell phone. I don’t use it during school hours. I have a son in school. I don’t need to text him during the day. Our school policy is that if a student needs to contact a parent they must go to the office and use the phones there. Parents can call the school through our office phones and we will find the student in class and bring them to the office to talk to the parent. Of course this never happens. That is because parents know of our cell phone policy but do not back it up. They are sending a message to their students that it is alright to break the rules, and that should have been in my list of how cell phones are “bad”. Somebody also called cell phones an addiction akin to drug use. This is very true. Students are texting students they just talked to five minutes ago and will see in forty-five minutes. They are not saying anything vitally important. It is an addiction.
Now to address the “rights” issue. I am a journalism teacher. The rights guaranteed to us by the American Constitution are an important matter to me. However, the law has borne out the legal opinion in many cases involving students that they do not have the same rights as other American citizens and that the school is acting as a sort of guardian to them while in the school’s care. This means that schools have a legal right to impinge upon the students’ freedoms while on school grounds. A student does not have the right to cheat on tests, interrupt school bandwidth, take upskirt pictures of teachers or even text their mother that they aren’t feeling well.
Thus, if a teacher must resort to using a small portable device to disrupt cell phone signals in a class preventing them from breaking a school rule they are well informed about, then what is the issue here? By the way, the teacher who had a student take a picture of her during a class, she wasn’t even aware of it until another teacher confiscated a phone that had this picture being passed around. The teacher installed a cell phone signal jammer in her room to protect her privacy. Her class is next door to mine. It doesn’t interfere with the signals in my class (unfortunately) or outside her walls. So, the argument that someone walking outside the walls would not be able to make a vital call, is a moot one. Ultimately, if students followed the rules, other methods would not have to be taken. I am in full support of cell phone signal jammers. They should be legal, they are not violating any student rights and they are protecting those that may be violated by cell phone use.

W. R. Klemm (user link) says:

article for teacher's magazine on technology abuse

Long before this important dialog started, I wrote an article on the abuse of communications technology in schools. I am trying to publish it, but so far I can’t find a teacher magazine that will print it… in many cases, refuse to look at it (is political correctness involved here?.

The thesis is that these technologies not only interfere with learning they also are reinforcing narcissism.

Todd says:


I’m amused by those who suggest that the “simple” solution is for schools to ban the use of cellphones and confiscate the phones from students who break the rule. Are you kidding me? Schools already do that and it’s far from simple. Students hide their cellphones, deny they even have one and refuse to turn the phone over when confronted. Parents get angry because schools have taken student phones, even for one class. So rather than helping kids learn, teachers get embroiled in policing and confrontation.
The SIMPLE solution would be for Congress to legalize the use of cellphone jammers in schools.

Sandy says:

What some forget...

A lot of people just think “why not be strict about cell phone usage?” Well, as a teacher, let me assure you that most school are, but the issue isn’t just about authority. We have a very strict policy at our school. No cell phones, period. However, students are so obstinate when it comes to their phones that we’ve already had several just flat-out refuse to hand theirs over when caught and willingly take disciplary consequences instead. Once, when a student hid his by giving it to a friend, the admins conducted a search and confiscated all the phones they found (as the handbook states none are allowed). Within minutes the office was swamped with parents who were irate b/c their child’s phone had been taken, even though they signed a document stating they were aware of the handbook rules and consequences. It’s not just about being strict…not when you have parents texting students in class and becoming more irate about cell phone confiscation than poor academic performance. It’s just a headache and takes up large amounts of man hours to deal with…hours that should be used in a classroom/seeing to education. And anyone stating that “well, they’ll [the parents] just have to get over it” has NOT had experience of the behind-the-scenes politics in a school setting. It took the principal almost half the school day to deal with irate parents who bottlenecked the office. He stood his ground, but some are going to the school board to possibly seek to change policy.

As someone who grew up in a generation without cellphones in school, I’m shocked at how kids view their phones as absolute essentials. I’ve seen children break down into tears b/c their phone broke or was taken up. For me, jammers would be that happy middle ground. They wouldn’t be able to use it in class, yet parents wouldn’t have a leg to stand on (in terms of complaining) b/c they child still retains their phone and can use them after school for emergency situations, etc…

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