Our school bans cell-phones, but the rule arose because the security folks were spending an outsized amount of time tracking down stolen phones. They concluded that it's not safe for students to bring a cell-phone to school, in terms of risk of loosing it. The rule is not enforced vigorously (teachers will ask students to put their phones away rather than assign punishments) and it allows security to get out of investigating cell-phone theft or losses.
There are many websites that examine both sides of this issue. I've seen many teachers suggest that creating lessons involving cell phones. I remember being taught phone etiquette as a small child in elementary school. Why not do this with cell phones? I think we spent about 20 minutes for the whole class and it was a bit of a grammar lesson as well.
My son's school is currently proposing a 180 day out of school suspension for being caught with a cell phone. This is harsher than the punishment for being caught with tobacco or alcohol. It could also result in a child being held back for two years if they are caught in the second half of the school year. I wondered if any one knows of a school that has this kind of policy and how it has worked out for them? Also, does anyone know of a school with less strict policies and how has that worked for them? Does anyone else think this extreme seems a bit technophobic? One teacher in Florida said their students are allowed to use phones before the first bell and after the last bell which seems like a reasonable compromise to me. They said they didn't have any discipline issues with this policy and it makes sense given that it is a policy that gives the students some freedom but within limits.
I'm curious to know if anyone has any stories about serious harm being caused by students having cell phones at school. I have heard all the annoyance stories and I have heard about the parents who want their kids to be able to call them to let them know they are safe in the event of a major catastrophe/school shooting but I haven't heard any real life examples of serious problems to cause such a strict ban. There was one story about a student who photographed a teacher's cleavage but should the teacher be exposing cleavage for a student to photograph?