With all this publicity about the online harassment and suicide, I have to suggest one simple solution for many problems facing teenagers, education system and families these days.
We should remove one tool of distraction, cheating and harassment from the kids. Their cell phones should be banned and not allowed near schools (unless special circumstances and handled through the office).
Let me explain:
Distraction — many students in schools do not pay attention, because they play games on their “phones” or communicate with other people while they should be learning. I know because I am a retired teacher who saw the start of this problem and its exponential growth.
Students were already a decade ago claiming that they have to have their phone because it is their calculator. There are better calculators available for less than $10 (much less than what they pay monthly for their “toy”).
The presence of phones diminishes the education. There is no need to communicate/ receive calls/harass and be harassed during school hours.
In an emergency, school offices can always inform student, or student can use the office. It worked for decades.
Cheating — I had students who took the picture of the test and e-mailed it to their friends who were taking the test in the next period.
When I found out, I had to make different tests for each of my classes.
These days, I hear they can get feedback during the test and cheat their way through it. There are many more other problems in this area — even at university level now.
Harassment — some bullying will always happen. But what kids certainly do not need is organized harassment during the school day.
It can get very ugly and as I said, the tool is at hand of most students. These days they do not even talk on the way to/from school. They walk beside each other and text, occasionally showing each other how nasty they are to their targets.
Giving them a break from this nonsense is so simple. I wonder if any school district will dare to do that.