More on Cell Phones and Students

I am a principal at an elementary school. This morning, ten minutes after recess, an angry parent came to the office. Apparently her fifth-grade daughter used her cell phone to call and say she was being picked on during recess! How do I deal with this new wrinkle?

I am struggling to understand why a parent would think that a fifth-grade child needs to have a cell phone at school in the first place! However, that question aside, your best approach may be some clarification of policy and then some general parent education.

Does your school or district have a policy on student cell phone use? If not, it appears to be time to develop one. If so, it needs to be reviewed and enforced. Once staff and students are clear on the rules, parents need to be informed.

An important skill children learn during the school day is the ability to handle situations on their own. When a parent is just a phone call away, and is willing to come fight battles for a child, the student loses valuable opportunities to learn to solve problems independently. I would emphasize this with parents, reassuring them that staff will be responsive when a child isn’t able to handle a problem and comes to them for help.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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