April 22, 2011

Dumb Legislation at the Speed of Text

Justin Katz

Now here's a wrong way to address the complexities of society in the Information Age:

Under the legislation students could still carry phones in school, but they couldn't use them during school hours, including study hall and lunch. A first offense results in a warning. A second violation would lead to administrators confiscating the phone for three days. The third time, the phone would be kept for five days. Exceptions would be made for emergencies.

Sen. John Tassoni Jr., D-Smithfield, introduced the bill after leading a legislative task force investigating cyberbullying. The work led Tassoni to conclude that cellular prohibition is the best way to ensure students are focusing on a textbook, not Facebook.

Why is this a legitimate activity for a state legislature that currently has government-shaking deficits and structural deficiencies to address? Of course, legislation that would prevent Tassoni from operating his voting button while the General Assembly is in session might be worth a look...

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Why not simply outlaw phones in school completely? What do they need them for? If there's an emergency, the office can certainly make any necessary calls. It sure worked when we were in school, we didn't need phones while there.

Posted by: Patrick at April 22, 2011 5:13 PM

How did we survive without cell phones in school all those years? Tassoni must be trying to establish is name and if I'm right, has filed the most bills of anyone in the GA. He toyed with running for Lt. Gov. but pulled out when Roberts ran again. This guy is a clown. As a former business agent for Council 94, he has conflict of interest written all over him. He is publisher of a union newspaper called Common Ground. When Fidelity announced they were moving hundreds of jobs to Smithfield recently, he wanted a traffic study commissioned to see if the infrastructure could handle it. Why? Probably because there were no union jobs coming.

Posted by: Max Diesel at April 22, 2011 6:15 PM

Tassoni is a dangerous fool, being a tool of the unions and a clown as this bill illustrates. If the few conservatives in the Senate don't hang him out to dry with that public ridicule that his stupid bill deserves, they are missing the boat.

Posted by: BobN at April 22, 2011 6:56 PM

The public school at which I substitute taught had a full-blown "Cell Phone Prohibition" in effect. The students would undoubtedly be better off without the cell phones, just as drug addicts would be better off without the heroin needles and crack pipes. But like every other prohibition in history, it was grossly ineffective and even counterproductive to some extent. The vast majority of students still carried cell phones in school and at least half used them openly in class. The teachers shouted and screeched at students to put away their cell phones like the petty tyrants they were, doling out detentions left and right. It had the same effect as throwing a few pot smokers in jail; the students didn't care and it created an "us versus them" resentful atmosphere in the school. And all for nothing - underneath every desk the students still furiously texted away. Give one of them detention and confiscate the phone, they come back the next day with a new one.

I wasn't their actual teacher, but I quickly realized the futility of this prohibition-style enforcement. My short-term solution (just to make my own job easier) was to go against school policy and promise them that they could use their cell phones after they had completed their work. Mixed results, but much better than the prohibition method was getting - most of the students finished their work and then texted for the rest of the period. They thought I was "cool" for letting them use their phones at all. There were some trouble makers who refused to do anything at all and just played on their phones, but those kids were beyond help anyway. I did notice that when the students were engaged and interested in what I was teaching they weren't as glued to their phones.

I don't need to comment on the utter stupidity and authoritarian control-freak-ism of the General Assembly taking up the matter.

Posted by: Dan at April 22, 2011 7:03 PM
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