The Nashua Board of Education should most definitely invite public and teacher comments before voting on a policy that would prohibit students from carrying their cellphones to classes.
Cellphones ought to be put away during class time but to require that they be stored in student lockers is a bit much to ask, or desire, in this age where instant communication can be a serious matter.
What the board might want to look at is the apparent lack of enforcement of current rules, which require phones to be put away during class. One board member, Elizabeth Van Twuyver, said some teachers fear for their physical safety if they try to enforce the rule.
Come again? Any student who threatens to assault a teacher ought to be disciplined. If teachers are being intimidated in this way, where is the administration? Where is the teachers’ union?
Board member Howard Coffman wants cellphones put into student lockers and accessed only during lunch break. What happens if there is an emergency in the school? Worried parents or siblings could and sometimes have overwhelmed a school phone line. That bottleneck would be multiplied countless times if parents were not able to directly contact their sons and daughters or vice versa.
We suppose teachers need to be as vigilant with students messaging each other with a cellphone as much as they did in another day when students passed notes to each other.
Bedford and Merrimack school districts allow cellphones in class but require they not be used unless specifically authorized. That sounds like a better solution than what Nashua’s Coffman is recommending. But surely the Nashua board and school administrators need to address the teacher safety concern.
If teachers are worried about being assaulted over a cellphone, the schools clearly have bigger problems than inattentive students.