16 Sep 2011
Schools Look at Cell Phone Policy—from 2007
In New Jersey recently, there was an incident in which a public
high school student recorded his teacher expressing (inflicting, really)
his religious views to the class. Most high school students know that
this is a violation of church and state, and being a public school,
these views should have been kept by the teacher to himself. In
another school, also in my home state of New Jersey, there was
another recording incident, in which a teacher was freaking out over
a student not standing during the Star-Spangled Banner. While the
teacher yelled at and berated the students, demanding that they
stand up, a student recorded him. The teacher focused his attention
on one student in particular, and then yanked the chair out from
Both of these incidents have led the school boards at these
schools to examine their cell phone policies (due to the cameras and
recording features on them).
My question, and being an educator, I may catch a little flak
here (being human as well, I expect a little fall-out), but how are
these teachers still teaching? I know none of us is perfect, and we
sometimes have a bad day and yell at kids when they frustrate us,
but pulling a chair out from under a kid to make him stand up? How
degrading is that? Whatever happened to sending a student out of
the room, calling his parents, and giving detention? Fortunately, the
stubborn brat was not hurt (I am not totally on his side, but the
handling of him was not right, and from reports, it is known that he
and his friend manipulated the teacher’s behavior—shows a pattern
from this teacher). As far as the teacher inflicting his religious views
on the students (reportedly, he told them if they were not good
Christians, they were going to Hell—so much for diversity), this was
also repeated behavior that is not condoned by most school boards.
The student felt that the administrators in his school would not
believe him if he did not have evidence, so he recorded the teacher.
How are either of these teachers’ actions different form bullying?
They both used their positions to try to inflict their values or morals.
This is the real issue here, not the cell phone policy.
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