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School rules in Stafford would allow dorm pants, cellphones
EVERY YEAR, notes Stafford
Changes to the school system's alcohol code would give more discretion to the superintendent (or his designee) in disciplining offenses. Right now, the minimum offense for a student who possesses or uses alcohol on or off the school grounds is suspension for the rest of the year. In many cases that's appropriate, but what about the little elementary school kid who unwittingly brings in something alcoholic for show-and-tell? That may be an extreme example, but the point is well taken: Administrators should be allowed some flexibility in meting out punishment.
Other changes seem not so wise. The revision would allow teens to wear dorm pants to school. Really? Many school systems are headed the other way, toward uniforms and more dressy requirements, following the thinking that kids who dress well act the part. Dressing up conveys respect. Yes, it's true, a lot of college kids wear dorm pants to class; so let the floppy flannels be a reward for the post-high-school years.
It's understandable why the school system would want kids to be able to bring their personal e-readers to class. And trial runs of tablet computers, such as iPads, have proved their usefulness in teaching, at least at the high school level. But cellphones? The new rules would allow kids to use them "in class as long as the use does not disrupt instruction or testing, and to use such devices in the school, in general, provided the use does not cause a disruption."
Can you just hear the arguments over whether or not cellphone use is "disruptive"? Besides, isn't it enough that parents have to fight the constant intrusion of cellphones at home, in the car, at the dinner table--must kids use them at school, too?
Martin Lindstrom, the author of "Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy," conducted an MRI experiment to test the "addictive" quality of cellphones. What he found surprised him: Cellphones actually stimulate the portion of our brains that processes feelings of love and attachment. "The subjects' brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend, or family member," he wrote in an article in The New York Times. In other words, he said, we love our cellphones. He goes on: "For many, the iPhone has become a best friend, partner, lifeline, companion and, yes, even a Valentine."
Is that really something to encourage? Despite all the pressure to "modernize" the student rules, keeping routine cellphone use out of school could be one small step for the future of humanity.