Safe in Class Series: Cell Phones in the Classroom

Posted at 7:59 PM, Feb 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-21 15:21:01-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Students use their phones to take down notes, as calculators, and even to do their daily school work... cell phones have become essential to the classroom

But the question--many school administrators are now asking after several shooting at schools and campuses have claimed lives, should these phones be used as an alert method?

Teachers like Sherry Whiddon said that's not the best idea.

"I do not believe that students should have access to them to call home in the event of an emergency. "I think it would add to the chaos to have parents receiving personal reactions instead of actual usable information," said Whiddon.

Mrs. Whiddon teaches 7th grade language arts at Deerlake Middle school in Tallahassee. She said the school has a pretty strict cell phone policy. The students aren't allowed to use their phones unless a teacher gives them permission.

But, Mrs. Whiddon says her students use their cell phones as a learning tool.

"In my classroom we use it to make flashcards, to do research, to look up words," said Whiddon.

When they aren't using them during lesson time...they're tucked away into their book bags.

But parents like Jena Duke say if there's an emergency she'd want her daughter to contact her right away.

"That would be a blessing in a way because if I heard there was a shooter at Godby and i knew my child was there and I couldn't contact her to make sure she was ok I would be upset and worried," said Duke.

But, ask Donna Biggins, a mother of 6, who says she would prefer the school to give her a call "first."

"If something were physically happening at your child's school I don't think a lot of parents and a lot of people standing around would be very beneficial," said Biggins.

One take, Mrs. Whiddon agrees with, she says if there is an incident on campus, they've got your kids covered.

"We have an excellent crisis plan and all communications should come from an administrator or an agency involved," said Whiddon.

It's a plan that she believes works well and if parents are ever concerned, just give the school a call.