Long Beach Warns Students To Hang Up - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/16/04

Long Beach Warns Students To Hang Up

Eddie Alexander whipped out his cell phone during lunch and called his friend. 

"How'd you do on that test today?"

Eddie stays connected to his cell phone everyday. 

"I text friends and I talk to them, just everyday cell phone use."

Cassie Brunelle relies on her phone for safety reasons.

"I use it for emergency purposes to call my mom when I'm heading home from work and problems if I go to the mall. I let her know where I'm at."

But these Long Beach High students must soon part with their cell phones, or keep them out of sight. Starting January 3rd, students caught with a cell phone during school hours could lose their phones from one week, to the rest of the year if they're third time violators.

Teachers won't search purses, pockets or bookbags for cell phones, but if they see it being used or hear it ringing, they'll take it away.

"We've had many instances of disruption to the learning environment, cell phones ringing in the classroom, text message answers from student to student. It's gotten to be an interference," Principal Susan Whiten said.

Principal Whiten cites another reason to crack down on cell phones -- prevent cheating.

"We had final exams this week. During one of the exams, a cell phone was seen by a teacher. This student had put the answers to the study guide into his message box, so he could view the answers for his test. So it's gotten to the point where we have to stop it."

Many students say the policy is just too strict.

"I understand they can take it away or whatever, but I don't think they should keep it. They don't have the right to keep it. We pay for them," Adam Holland said.

"I think we should have them just as long as it's not on, and just use it for after school," Cassie Brunelle said.

Like it or not, students better hang up, or face serious consequences.

"I hope that changing the severity of the consequences, students, as well as their parents, will under what a disruption it is for us. We're here to educate and we want to help them get their education, and the cell phones have got to stop," Whiten said.

Whiten says students who need to contact their parents, can always use the phone in the reception area.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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