The Instigator
Macemace96
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Con (against)
Winning
64 Points

Students should be allowed to use their cell phones in school

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/16/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 13,539 times Debate No: 13394
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (12)

 

Macemace96

Pro

Students should be allowed to use their cell phones in school for these 3 reasons: 1) for emergencies, 2) to use the tools and whatever else their cell phones have to provide, and, finally, 3) to contact their friends and parents
bluesteel

Con

Definitions:

Princeton's Wordnet defines "allow" as "grant permission." [1]

Therefore, the resolution reads "students should be granted permission to use their cell phones in school."

Based on my personal experience, the typical cell phone ban in schools is: "no cell phones may be used during school hours."

Most school cell phone bans do not prevent students from carrying cell phones to school.

This would answer two of my opponent's objections:
1. Cell phones could be carried to school, and school administrators would be more than open to allowing students to use cell phones in the case of an emergency, although the cell phones might have limited usefulness since having 1500 kids call their parents all at once would overload the cell phone tower.
2. Cell phones can be used both before school and after school for contacting parents and arranging rides.

My opponent's third objection, that cell phones have tools that students can use, will be answered by my case. In addition, keep in mind that most math classes require much more sophisticated calculators (like graphing calculators) than are available on the typical phone. My opponent should name which tools are vitally necessary.

My case:

1. Cheating

If cell phone use is "allowed" during class, then it will be very difficult for teachers to catch people who are texting each other answers during tests and quizzes.

2. Distraction

Many teenagers suffer from "permanent partial attention disorder," which is a habit of paying only partial attention to their schoolwork, while devoting half of their attention, typically, to social networking sites or instant messaging. If students can text each other during class, they are much less likely to take good notes and are much less likely to fully learn the lessons.

3. Safety

Schools that have metal detectors at their doors and are considered extremely dangerous are the only schools that typically confiscate cell phones. The reason: when students get into fights, they often call for "outside assistance." This could mean a gang member calling older members of his gang or members who attend a different school. School administrators report that cell phones should be considered a weapon in these schools because they allow small-scale fights to spiral out of control. Out-of-control fights put the school administrators who are trying to control the fight in danger.

Milwaukee's inner-city school district recently banned cell phones on school grounds for this reason. MSNBC reports, "School brawls have gone high tech, with students using cell phones to call in reinforcements — in one case requiring police and pepper spray to break up a fight that swelled to about 20 family members on school grounds. The fracas earlier this month, in which six students and three adults were arrested, was the latest in a surge of cell phone-related fights and prompted Wisconsin's largest school district to ban cell phones." [2]

Since there are legitimate reasons to deny students permission to use cell phones during school, I urge a negation of the resolution.

[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[2] http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Macemace96

Pro

My opponent mentioned that if students are allowed to use cell phones in school then it would be difficult for teachers to catch who is cheating. Well, I did not say that students will be allowed to use their cell phones whenever they wanted, just that they should be allowed to them in school. Teachers dont have to let their class use their phones for things like quizzes and tests.
My opponent also mentioned that cell phones would cause a distraction. students arent going to be on their cell phones half the class time because they would be able to use them outside of their classes like for passing time or their lunch breaks. This is the time that students will use their phones for social network sites and texting. Students know that if they're distracted by their phones in the classroom then they are not going to be getting the information they need for quizzes, tests, and assignments.
You also said that students shouldnt use their cell phones for safety reasons such as fights. In this case, it doesnt matter if they're at school because if they really want to fight then they're still going to call for outside assistance regardless if they're allowed to use their phones or not. If they don't do that then they will wait until they get out of school to fight.
As for the tools that I mentioned, it does not just mean calculators. It could also mean to use encyclopedias on the web or to record what the teacher is saying so you can study better. You can even use that information you recorded and send it to a sick friend so that they will know what to do when they return to school. When I said that they can contact their parents it didn't just mean rides. Parents may want to contact their child for a reminder for things such as doctor appointments. Students may, also, want to contact their friends when they're sick.
bluesteel

Con

Responding to my opponent's most recent arguments:

1. Cheating

My opponent says that teachers can ban cell phones during tests. This is only possible if students are not allowed to use the tools on their cell phone. If students don't have another calculator other than their phone, how can teachers ban cell phones during tests? My opponent essentially agrees that it's necessary for students to purchase tools other than their phones, like dictionaries and calculators, if they want to use these during quizzes or tests.

In addition, if my opponent agrees that teachers have the authority to ban cell phone use in their classrooms, how does this constitute cell phone use being "allowed" in schools. 90% of a student's day is spent inside a classroom.

2. Distraction

My opponent says that students will "get their fill" while texting outside of class. My own experience denies this. When I was in high school, students would routinely get caught texting each other during class. While some "good students" would rather pay attention than miss a lesson, many "bad students" find class time boring and would rather socialize using their cell phones. Students who choose to text during class would be constantly distracted; they could also "corrupt" students who are trying to pay attention by texting them and trying to distract them with a conversation.

This is particularly important for elementary school students, when most students still have the potential to learn skills and habits that will make them good students later in life. Younger children have much shorter attentions spans and would be even more prone to distraction by being allowed to use cell phones during class. If they are allowed to use cell phones at a young age, they will learn bad habits and be more prone to partial attention disorder later in life.

3. Safety

My opponent says people could just fight outside school. My responses:

1) Students are less likely to fight outside school because fights are usually caused by heightened emotions as a result of close and forced proximity to someone who you don't like. Students are not forced to associate with people they don't like when they're outside of school; thus, fight are less likely to spontaneously occur.

2) Who cares? The cell phone ban policies are not designed to stop all fights. Cell phone bans in these schools are designed to protect the safety of other schoolchildren and the safety of school administrators who have to break up the fights. If a bunch of kids want to meet outside school property to fight, that's between them and the police.

Tools:

Encyclopedias

The only free online encyclopedia is Wikipedia, and I don't think students should be citing this particular source for school projects.

Voice recorders:

Digital voice recorders are relatively inexpensive. A Sony model only costs $30. [1] Just like you have to buy a calculator if you want to use it in school (since you can't use your cell phone), you also need to buy a voice recorder if you want to record lectures. If you can afford a smart phone that is capable of recording a 45-minute lecture (has enough hard drive space), then you can afford a $30 digital voice recorder.

Replacement:

Laptops could also be allowed in schools where there is no internet access. Laptops would allow students to access tools, like encyclopedia programs, and digitally record their teacher's lectures, without the harms of distraction (since there is no internet access) and without the safety risks.

Other need for cell phones:

My opponent claims that students need cell phones to call their friends when they are sick. They can call their friends before or after school to socialize and ask what they missed in class.

She also says that parents need to contact kids to remind them about doctors' appointments. Either a) the doctor's appointment is after school, in which case cell phone use is allowed or b) it is during school, in which case the parent must arrange beforehand with both the child and the school for an "excused absence." Parents, as adults, should be responsible enough to remind their kids before school that they need to pick them up early for a doctor's appointment.

The courts have also agreed with me that cell phone bans are legitimate. [2] Since cell phones are a MAJOR distraction and can jeopardize a school's safety, I strongly urge a negation of the resolution.

[1] http://www.google.com...

[2] http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Macemace96

Pro

My opponent said himself that students will need much more advanced calculators that cell phones have to provide so students will be able to use those on their tests. However, I said that teachers can tell their class that they can't use their cell phones during quizzes/tests but I did not say that they can't use them in class. So therefore, students won't cheat but can still use the tools their phones have to provide for class assignments.

As for the distractions, when you said that students always got caught texting, well, the same happens at my high school but then again, these high schools do not allow students to use their phones so unless you went to a high school where they allowed students to use their cell phones, you can't use that as an example because you don't have a personal experience with students being allowed to use their cell phones in school.

My opponent says that fights are caused by heightened emotion. Well, when two students want to fight but can't then the hightened emotions won't just leave. They'll still have those emotions. I know two people that wanted to fight but couldn't so they met at a park to fight so you can't say that students are less likely to fight outside school. Also, if two students really want to fight and want to call some people to help them, not bei granted permission to use their phones at school isn't going to stop them from calling whoever they want to help them fight. especially if they're going to get in trouble anyways for fighting at school.

As for laptops as a replacement, that isn't much better than a cell phone because kids can still email or use social networks which would be a distraction and having access to social networks and IM would still have safety risks.

As for being able to contact their friends, if they contact their friends at their own time in school like lunch or passing time there's really no problem.

Students should also be able to use their phones to contact their parents if they're sick. they can contact their parents first and while they're waiting for their parents, they can sign out at the office. Students shouldn't have to wait all that time when they're sick. They would have to wait after calling their parents then if there's a line for the phone they would have to wait for their turn to use the phone, as well.
bluesteel

Con

Responding to my opponent's most recent arguments:

Distraction:

My high school allowed cell phone use in-between classes, but not during class. Students never got enough of texting during the 6-minute "walking period" or our 30-minute lunches. They would continue to text surreptitiously during classes.

It's absurd to believe that teenagers would stop texting if they got an extra 6 minutes between classes to do so. For example, the NY Times reports in 2009, "They do it late at night when their parents are asleep. They do it in restaurants and while crossing busy streets. They do it in the classroom with their hands behind their back. They do it so much their thumbs hurt. Spurred by the unlimited texting plans offered by carriers like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Nielsen Company — almost 80 messages a day, more than double the average of a year earlier. The phenomenon is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists, who say it is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation." [1]

It is even worse to encourage this behavior at younger ages, like in elementary school, by permitting cell phone use during class.

Safety:

I agree fights could still occur off-campus. However, someone is less likely to "postpone" a fight, since his or her emotions will have calmed down by then. In addition, fights off-campus do not endanger other students or school administrators.

Lastly, it is silly to think that a school policy can solve for problems that occur outside school. My opponent essentially agrees that cell phone bans in dangerous schools prevent large-scale fights from breaking out on school property. The bans thus accomplish all that they are designed to do.

Laptops:

You can't email or IM if your school doesn't have internet access available. This argument is irrelevant, however, since I would support schools banning laptops if they were used for social networking and IM.

Contact friends:
There is no good reason students cannot wait until after school to call friends.

Contact parents:
If a child is sick, the school nurse will typically call the parents using a school landline and the parent's emergency contact information. A cell phone is unnecessary for this purpose.

Since all the tools and uses for cell phones could be accomplished through other means, but cell phones remain a major distraction during class and remain a safety hazard in some schools, I urge a con vote.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by TallIndianKid 3 years ago
TallIndianKid
RFD:
Bluesteel successfully turned or refuted all of Macamace96's arguments and refutations.
also, Mace contradicted himself by saying that teachers would only ban cellphones during tests, but let them use the cellphones the rest of the class because he previously said that cellphones would be used only after class.
thus i vote neg
Posted by TallIndianKid 3 years ago
TallIndianKid
RFD:
Bluesteel successfully turned or refuted all of Macamace96's arguments and refutations.
also, Mace contradicted himself by saying that teachers would only ban cellphones during tests, but let them use the cellphones the rest of the class because he previously said that cellphones would be used only after class.
thus i vote neg
Posted by Postup10101 3 years ago
Postup10101
This was a pretty good debate on both ends. I believe that phones should be allowed in school (i don't know a school that doesn't allow them on the premises), but they need to be off until dismissal or lunch break. I tried to give pro reliable sources but he did not state any bibliography.
Posted by Macemace96 3 years ago
Macemace96
I thought that I did give you the citation point but I guess I didnt. Well, this isnt a real life debate so if it bothers you so much that I voted for myself then vote for yourself,too.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
You didn't give me any other points, although you can give me the citation point too, if you really want (for MSNBC and NY Times).

I won't vote for myself because you can't vote for yourself in a real life debate.

But if I were the type of person to vote in my own debates, I'd vote against myself when I legitimately thought that I lost.
Posted by Macemace96 3 years ago
Macemace96
It was no problem giving you the spelling/grammar point and I think I gave you something else, however, If you think that it's such an unfair advantage then you can vote for yourself, too
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
@Macemace96

You know voting for yourself is generally in bad form. Since I refuse to do it, that gives you an unfair advantage. I'd appreciate it if you removed your vote for yourself, although I appreciate that you gave me the spelling/grammar point.
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 11 through 12 records.
Vote Placed by annhasle 3 years ago
annhasle
Macemace96bluesteelTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Vote Placed by Macemace96 3 years ago
Macemace96
Macemace96bluesteelTied
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Total points awarded:61