Pparents and school officials are learning the hard way from technologically advanced teens. 23 News Reporter Laura Gibbs investigates cell phones and our kids. The days of note passing and pay phones are over. Kids of all ages seem to have their cell phones glued to their ears no matter what time of day. In the halls at East High School in Rockford about 80% of the student population is armed with the right tools to learn and the right tools to talk.
East High School Principal Todd France says, “They can't use their phone while in the building. As long as they keep it away then we don’t mind."
The same rules apply at Auburn High School. Principal Dr. Richard Jancek states, "Once kids come inside the phones are turned off. They can't use them in class, passing time, bathrooms or during lunch."
But in this day and age these students are creative and find a way to beat the system and cheat.
You see Ethan may be in one classroom and Cassie might be in another classroom. The two may be talking but no one would ever know it." Principal France states, "People are taking pictures of the test and sending that to a friend who has that class a few hours later."
Belvidere High School Junior Ashley Morgan tells 23 News, "During school people are texting like crazy.” And when asked if anyone gets caught, Ashley says, “No, it's pretty easy."
15-year-old Travis Redmond agrees. Redmond states, "Some have it on vibrate and always text during class."
At East phones, I-Pods and Walkman's are confiscated daily. At Auburn you get detention or a referral but phones aren’t taken away. Students aren't just getting in trouble at school but at home too when the dreaded cell phone bill arrives.
Tammy Morgan took the cell phone away from daughter. She says, "Our phone bill is supposed to be $159 it was $600. It was outrageous."
Tammy Morgan's 17-year-old daughter Ashley went way over her minutes and because she couldn't stop texting she lost that privilege and her cell phone. That lifeline was also taken away for 12-year-old Tanner Redmond. His mother Jacque Redmond states, "There was an extreme amount of calls from one girl so I told him he's grounded because I told him the stipulation is for emergency purposes only. So his cell phone was taken away indefinitely."
The only problem is parents and kids don't seem to have the same definition of a catastrophe.
School administrators say it's only going to get worse. After Christmas students will come back with new cell phones, I-Pods and any other new gizmo. So school principals say they are really going to have to take a hard look at this issue.
But it’s not just a problem in Middle and High School. Principals say the problem is that many parents continually check in with their student throughout the day. Most phone companies offer special phones for kids. Parents can enter phone numbers that can only be called during permission-based times. Some phones only have four numbers each going to a specific person so there is no way that kids can make excessive calls.