Remember the post I wrote about Sexting? The practice of taking snapshots of a person’s privates and texting them to one another? Well, that piece was published in a newspaper. One of the paper’s regular readers saw it and sent me the following note. I thought I’d share it with you. Ask for your response?
I don’t usually respond to articles in the paper, but after reading your article about Teens/Sex/ and Cellphones, I had an incident that totally blew me away and I wanted to share it with you , as well as some other “phone incidents”.
The day that your article appeard in our paper was the beginning of State Exams in our high school for the second semester. M. came into class and asked if she could use her cell quickly, to show me a recent dog picture. As she scrolled throuhg her data, I mentioned your article about how teens are sending provocative pictures to one another and they are frequently posted on the internet. She said, “I don’t care if anyone wants to watch me have sex and take a picture of it…doesn’t hurt me.”
I pulled back, shocked of course, and said M., surely you don’t mean that? You wanna be like Paris Hilton? She exclaimed..”I’d die to be her best friend. She’s the best. She’s rich, she’s sexy and I would want to be just like her.” Of course I threw up in my mouth a little, and exclaimed how she has no soul. M. exclaimed that Paris has plenty of money and she’d rather have that any day over a soul.” M. is 15 years old.
As a classroom teacher, finding little support from parents and school board members regarding cell phones and the battles we have with them, I perceive it as an addiction in the truest sense of the word. I have seemingly nice, respectful students, sneak and lie to be able to use their phones. Many of them feign illness just to leave class so they can text or call home directly rather than go the traditional route of office, parent and then student. They want what they want..now. I’ve had caring and productive students turn in to withdrawal monsters when they ar caught and asked to give up their phones. Recently, one very smart, academically gifted student, yell and scream, “I’m gonna kill somebody” after I took his phone.
When I called home to tell his Mom about the incident and let her know that our school doesn;t tolerate threats, she never apologized to me as a parent and agreed that he had a problem with his cell. With the pressures of my accountability to No Child left Behind and our own ranking system, cell phones are a continual distraction even by the kids who pay attention, constantly checking them on the sly without hesitation. School has digressed into a “mall mentality” and will continue a downward spiral with all blame going to the teachers because we can;t upset the tax-paying parents.
No one needs to be that connected and they should be banned from schools period. We had an EC (Exceptional Children) student who had 2 phones confiscated. One was to run his business and the other was for personal use. The parent was planning to sue because his business phone was turned on and images of naked girls were on his screen. The parent never once scolded the child.
One vocational teacher took a picture of one kid’s phone that had the test answers texted on it. The stories go on and on. It is a battle every day to follow the rules and many teachers just look the other way because they can’t take the disrespect time after time.
One of our expelled students was killed during a apartment invasion and within 10 minutes, kids were barging out of classes screaming and cursing because even though he was a Gang member, many students “loved” him and were out for blood. It was a scene out of a twilight zone movie. they corraled the distraught kids int the media center, mobilized out county grievance counselors and as I sat in the media observing, they were being screamed and cursed at because they wanted to kill the person who shot their friend, regardless of tha fact that he had broken into an apartment specifically to kill the residents. they went to the wrong apartment.
The last story occured at our school Improvement Team meeting last year as we were desperately trying to figure out a way to control the cell phone addiction. Grantd, the “good” kids just want to exercise their selfish behavior, but our gang and thug population break many rules and skip,etc. through their phones. It’s a criminal’s savior.
At any rate, we have to have a parent rep at our meetings and this one happened to be one of the Student Governemnt’s Moms and she was delightful. When we got to the part about the phones, she had to chime in to tell her story.
She proceeded to say how in the past, she would always defend the students (her daughter) because there were “good” kids who didn;t have that compulsion or lack of respect. Then she told us how she had gotten really angry with her daughter and took her cell phone away as a consequence. Being suspicious, she left the phone on the next day and her daughter received over 100 text messages all day long. She removed that program and now has completely changed her opinion about their addictive nature.Her honors level daughter was one of the deceitful types when it came to her phone and texting.
So thank you for the opportunity to share some of my stories and also do a little “shrinking” on myself. It always feel good to share some truths with others. Our young people never have to sit and think about life,love, or their future. There is always a cell phone.
Thanks again for your time.
A. C.Teacher (20+ years)