Should Just Pick One Excuse And Stick To It…

A Belvedere school has angered parents after banning students from bringing smart phones to school.

Just smartphones. Normal mobiles are OK, it seems.

Mums and dads say they are being forced to buy a cheaper alternative so their children have the protection of a phone for the journey to and from school.

And the reason for this bizarre action?

Well, not – as I first surmised – because the school is worried about them cheating on exams, oh no. A parent lets the cat out of the bag:

“I believe it stemmed from a picture of a teacher on a school trip and they superimposed the teachers head onto something.”

Ah. Comprehension dawns.

Sadly, the head has been to Waffle School:

Headteacher Ian Collins told News Shopper: “Pupils were not ‘searched’.

On rare occasions if a pupil said they did not have a phone they were asked to open their school bag and the staff member looked into it without touching it.

“There has been an increase in the theft of such smart phones on journeys to and from school and I wish to protect our pupils from such occurrences.”

Oh, I see. It’s ‘elf n’ safety again, then?

No, wait! It’s ‘inappropriate behaviour’!

“There have been a small number of incidents where phones have been used in breaks, after school and very occasionally during lessons to film or photograph inappropriately.”

No, no, hang on, I’ve got it! It’s ‘crime prevention’:

“Finally, I am conscious that such phones were used extensively during the recent local unrest and I am trying as far as possible to ensure our students are not involved in any further events of this nature.”


Anyone considering I might be being a little harsh here, and that those are indeed all reasonable excuses for such action, should read on:

The ban does not include sixth formers who are still allowed to bring their smart phones to school.

Who, presumably, never have their phones stolen, or indulge in a little photography and photo manipulation, and who wouldn’t dream of rioting and looting like their younger siblings…

13 comments for “Should Just Pick One Excuse And Stick To It…

  1. Jeremy Poynton
    October 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Why do they need smart phones at school? Indeed, why do they need phones at school? Surely the school can phone on their behalf in an emergency. I’d make them check them in at the gates. Screens divert kids. They do NOT need to be diverted at school – the idea used to be that they went there to be taught. Somewhat passée now, I gather.

    • October 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      Have you seen ‘Educating Essex’? They seem to be on them even during lessons!

      • Jeremy Poynton
        October 2, 2011 at 10:24 am

        Julia – we don’t have a TV, so no, but what you wrote does not surprise me in the slightest. These new gadgets are wonderful things to be sure – but they are destroying our kids ability to concentrate on anything. Screens are BAD for kids – full stop.

  2. October 1, 2011 at 11:39 am

    (Unusually) I’m not entirely in agreement with you here.

    The Head is right that smartphones – or phones with built-in cameras, for that matter – are a liability in school for several reasons, not least of which is the potential for abuse, bullying or victimisation of other pupils (or teachers).

    The problem is the balance of power, or rather the misguided attempts to placate and reason with parents. It’s a symptom of the lack of respect for education that parents are complaining about what should be a clear policy in all schools.

    After all, if they can afford smartphones for their children and aren’t particularly bothered by the possibility of theft, then surely a cheap pay-as-you-go model for school is within their budgets – and that should include sixth-formers.

    However, an outright ban is unenforceable without the cooperation of parents and unreasonably places the burden of execution of teachers. Rather than attempt it, the wisest course might have been to address parents directly, outlining the sound reasons for the policy, and ask for their support.

    And, of course, since that is unlikely to be universal, the school should accept no responsibility of loss, damage or theft and be prepared to enforce draconian penalties for those caught misusing smartphones on the premises.

    • October 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Oh, I’d have no problem if he just stuck to his guns with the one reason only. And didn’t blow all his reasons out of the water by then allowing them in the sixth form!

      It’s as you say, the attempt to try and placate parents, rather than tell them ‘These are the rules!’, which is so apt to backfire.

      • October 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm

        On reflection, I wonder whether he has the support of the school governors on this; if he is acting without that security behind him, it would explain why he is less assertive than he ought to be.

        After all, many governors are also parents, and there are undoubtedly parents who will oppose the ban – I’ve known parents send their children to school with ‘dummy’ phones to substitute for the real ones in case of confiscation for improper use.

  3. microdave
    October 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I just hope none of the little darlings gets a job in the gas or some chemical industries. They’ll suffer withdrawal symptoms at having to hand their phones in at security before entering the site…

    • October 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      Not to mention a summons for jury service; we’ll soon be seeing the appeal by the wide boys convicted of misleading the public over the ‘Lapland’ Winter theme park, granted because a juror exchanging text messages with her boyfriend in the public gallery during the trial.

  4. October 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    It’s a wonder I survived my school days, with merely a couple of 2p pieces tucked in my bus pass for ‘Emergency Calls’

    • Mudplugger
      October 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      As my parents didn’t even have a phone at home, then it rendered even that few pence quite unnecessary. But I still survived….

  5. Ian
    October 1, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Did they snap a teacher up to do good…perhaps with a student?

  6. Andrew Duffin
    October 2, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Do these teachers actually think that only smartphones can take photographs?

    • October 2, 2011 at 9:45 am

      No, but only a smartphone is likely to have the sort of web-capable image manipulation software to do stuff on the fly.

      Kids today – if they have to take the phone home and download the pic to photoshop a donkey’s head onto Miss Smith’s shoulders, they just won’t bother. Too damn lazy… 😉

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