Cell phones are getting a strong reception at Brandon Valley High School. This semester, students have been allowed to use their cell phones in the hallways and lunchrooms, but not in the classrooms, on a trial basis. The phones may become a permanent fixture at the school.
The Brandon Valley principal says students have passed their cell phone test run, and he'll ask the school board to make the phones available year-round.
Brandon Valley High School students make the most of their 4-minutes in-between classes to text furiously in the hallways.
"There's kids walking down just staring at their phone," Brandon Valley senior Tiara Tingle said.
The principal says students should be rewarded for using their cell phones responsibly by allowing the devices in school through the entire year.
"I was really pleasantly surprised. I was worried about that it would become a real distraction at lunch when kids wouldn't sit and bond with each other and talk because I think there's just not a lot of times in the school day for kids to just socialize," principal Gregg Talcott said.
The students can use their phones in class, only as a necessary part of their studies.
"I've become pretty dependent on my cell phone. Especially now with the smart phones for homework it's become really, really helpful," Brandon Valley senior Jenny Baum said.
"We've got kids who write papers on their phones. We have to stop considering a phone like a phone was when I was growing up," Talcott said.
Talcott says allowing cell phones in school is less of a disruption during class. Students aren't as likely to take bathroom breaks to text or talk if they can use their phones in-between classes.
"We're seeing fewer kids leave class to go to the bathroom. Wonder why that is? Fewer calls from parents to give messages to their kids. Wonder why that is," Talcott said.
Many of the Brandon Valley students have grown up with cell phones. To be able to text from the lunchroom and hallways is a natural extension of the technology learning curve.
Students who violate the rules by texting from inside their classrooms have their phones taken away. Mom and dad have to come to the school to pick up the phones.
Talcott will take his proposal to the school board next month.