Editor’s note: The following is a sampling of letters submitted to
the Leader by students at John Burroughs High School in response to a
Sept. 10 story about the school’s cell phone policy. Students are
presently prohibited from using cell phones during school hours, but
Tim Brehm, a Burroughs photography instructor, has asked the Board of
Education to change the policy to allow students to use their phones
during nutrition and lunch breaks.
Students less defiant with a new phone policy
This is a ridiculous policy. What is the point of being able to
carry a phone if you are not allowed to use it? The rule should just
be that students are not allowed to bring cell phones on campus.
I am in favor of a new policy that would allow students to carry
cell phones and use them during nutrition and lunch breaks only. I
feel this policy will make teenagers less defiant of the rules. If
students are allowed to use phones during certain times, they will be
less tempted to use them during class or other times when they are
I admit to carrying a cell phone at school, and whenever I had it
turned on it never disturbed any of my classes. I have used it most
of the time to call my parents for rides home or to practice. I have
seen many students use their cell phones during lunch and nutrition,
and it hasn’t hurt anybody. Though students are allowed to use the
pay phones if they need to make a call, they are nowhere to be found.
The only one I know of is by the baseball field, where students are
not allowed to go. So what are we to do?
Cell phones discourage social interaction
Unlike many others, I believe we should keep the current policy
for several reasons. First, I am under the impression that students
are allowed to use their cell phones during an emergency that
involves the school, such as an earthquake. The next reason I am in
favor of keeping the current policy is that I believe if students are
allowed to use cell phones during their nutrition and lunch breaks,
this would result in tardiness to their following class. Cell phones
already tend to ring in class periodically, but not enough to disrupt
the learning process. If they were allowed to be used during school
hours, then the classroom would become a place of incessant ringing
instead of a place of learning. Finally, if people are constantly
talking on cell phones rather than talking to peers, it would
discourage social interaction, which is a main purpose of being at
Existing cell-phone policy impractical
I think the current cell phone policy is completely impractical
and absurd. Right now we’re allowed to have cellular phones at
school, but we’re not permitted to use them under any circumstances.
I understand not tolerating cell phones in class, but what about our
free periods? I’m aware a new policy is being (considered), one where
we have consent to use our personal phones solely during nutrition
and lunch. Usage during any other time would, of course, be
unacceptable and any violators would have to deal with the
consequences. I feel that it is an adequate solution for the
situation at hand. We’re in dire need of a new policy. One that works
with our students not against them.
Students should be able to use phones on campus
I believe that a new policy for cell phone use on campus is more
practical then the old policy. I think the (existing) policy is very
impractical, because if we are allowed to bring cell phones (to
school) we should be able to use them. I know how it feels to need to
get in touch with my mom to tell her I need to stay after school but
can’t. This can be very annoying, not to mention there is not a
single pay phone on campus for me to use. Adopting a new cell phone
policy would be the best thing, because it would eliminate the
problems of having to call your mom or dad to tell them what’s going
on after school, and the problem of students breaking the rules by
going into the bathroom and talking on their phones anyway!
Cell phones should be no different than pay phones
I believe we need a new policy. Students should be able to use our
cell phones at nutrition, lunch and after school. By allowing a new
policy at our school, students would be able to communicate whenever
there are emergencies. As long as it’s used at the right time and not
while class is in session, then I see no problem with it. Our school
recently took out its pay phones, so how are we supposed to
communicate with people outside of school? Even if there were pay
phones, what’s the difference between pay phones and cell phones? Why
let students bring cell phones to school when you can’t use them? I
also think cell phones would increase safety on school grounds. If
anyone was in trouble or had an emergency, help would be just a ring
away. It would be more practical to contact parents in case there is
a change of plans in the day. Being able to use cell phones would be
a good thing because it’s easier to communicate, you can make
arrangements and it takes away temptation to break the rules. It
would make the lives of many students easier.
Some students abuse cell-phone policy
Cell phones should only be used in emergencies and to change plans
with your parents. At John Burroughs High School, students have been
abusing that privilege by using them when they’re not supposed to. I
would keep the (existing) policy, but frankly I really don’t care.
Think about it: Wouldn’t you get disrupted in class when you hear a
cell phone going off?
Why carry phones if you can’t use them?
I am most heartily in favor of a new policy, which would allow
students to access their cell phones during sanctioned nutrition and
The (existing) policy has proved to be both impractical and
unrealistic. While I concede it was a step forward for students to be
allowed to carry their cell phones provided they’re concealed as well
as turned off, time has shown that this privilege is worth nothing if
we students are prohibited from using them.
Teachers and school administrators need to recognize that students
are going to communicate on their phones regardless of whether they
have to duck in a bathroom stall to do so. Were students permitted to
use their cell phones during lunch and nutrition, the enticement of
going to the trouble of sneaking around to use their phone would be
I do not see the harm in students using a cell phone during a time
specifically allotted for a personal break. With a reformed policy,
it would also be more convenient to communicate altered plans to
friends and family members, which would be conducive to education,
rather than disruptive. Residual problems stemming from forced bad
behavior would be greatly reduced as well, in my belief.