Ourword_9/4_vox, Students can expect more ringing in halls this fall.

By Gus Bode

This year Gov. George Ryan opted to sign a bill repealing a law that bans cellular phones in primary and secondary schools kindergarten through 12th in Illinois.

This should not be an issue. Children, especially in kindergarten through eighth grade, should have no need for a cellular phone, let alone in school. Before cellular phones were created, schools were equipped with payphones, and if parents needed to reach their child, they would call the main office. This has worked for many years and will continue to work – if only used in emergencies, as intended.

During school hours, friends trying to reach kids should be in school themselves. School is an institution for learning, and if children want to socialize, they should do it with other students in their school.


Once in the building, the phones have to be turned off, so there is no point in bringing them in the first place. If students need their phones for after school, then they should leave it in their car or the car of a friend.

Some special circumstances warrant cell phone usage by students such as serious medical conditions of a family member or children in daycare. Other reasons may arise and should be dealt with on a case-to-case basis. But who will determine who will be able to have their phones on in cases of emergencies?

The ban was created in the ’80s to deter drug deals from being conducted on school property. According to Ryan, that is not the case anymore. He said that parents use the phones to contact their children, and he also notes that the potential for school violence can make cell phones a valuable peace of mind for students and parents.

The original reason the ban was created is still a problem. Drug dealing may not be as visible today, but there are students who find a way around the rules. Once administrators decide to let students bring cell phones into the building, they will have to devise a plan to make sure the students do not use the phones during school hours.

Cellular phones today are equipped with so many different features that it would be difficult to stop students from using them throughout the school day. Phones have vibrator alerts, text messaging, e-mail and other features that allow for non-verbal communication, so if a student wanted to conduct business, they would be able to.

Having cellular phones in school can be a big distraction to other students. When students forget to turn off the phones, they can ring during class, interrupting the lesson.

If class interruptions were to occur, the school system would need to have a plan in position that would discipline the student for non-compliance. There needs to be specific guidelines that are followed in order to keep students from misusing the privilege.