Legislature should lift ban on students having cell phones

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 1, 2004

Five years ago, two cowards chose to storm their school in Littleton, Co. and kill several of their schoolmates and a teacher.

These two personified what every parent fears each day when they leave their child at their school.

As you will recall, there were a huge number of students who used their personal cell phones to call for help from throughout the building.

Email newsletter signup

Because of these calls, police were on the way to Columbine High School faster than they would have been.

On that day, cell phones proved their usefulness.

Now, do you know that it is against state law for a child to have a cell phone at a public school in Alabama? In 1989, the Legislature banned electronic communication devices in Alabama schools because pagers had become a tool of drug dealers.

That was a knee-jerk reaction and the law should have been abandoned long ago.

If the same thing that happened in Littleton happened in Butler County, who would call for help?

This is yet another example of the state's legislative body taking away local control.

The use of cell phones on public school property should be decided by the local school boards.

It is up to the local principals and teachers to enforce the state's law, so why not allow the school board to set the policy?

The Butler County Board of Education is quite capable of creating a policy regarding cellular telephones.

One approach would be to let students have them at school, but require that the devices remained turned off and placed in a book bag or purse for the day.

In no way are we saying what happened in Littleton is about to happen here.

God forbid it should.

But we just want our students to have the same chance to summon help to an emergency, especially if it is in the same league as the cowardly Columbine attack.

Let's face it.

We no longer live in the days of Ozzie and Harriet and we should be giving our children every fighting chance and after 9/11, we should know that anything is possible.

If that impossible does happen, would you want to be one of the legislators who agreed to it and then had to explain why someone's child died because no help could be summoned?