School leaders eye technology to stop cell phones

Inappropriate texting and picture messaging are so prevalent in some schools that administrators are trying to fight technology with technology, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Dade County, Ga., Superintendent Patty Priest said the school system is looking into cell phone detectors that would alert teachers whenever calls are made or messages are sent. Earlier this month, the Dade County Board of Education discussed purchasing cell phone jammers to scramble cell signals at the Dade County High School, but after the meeting Priest learned the scramblers are prohibited by the Federal Communications Commission. "If you’re sending text messages, you’re not going to be listening to the instruction going on," said Chris Chambers, coordinator of student services for Walker County Schools in Georgia. Chambers and other officials said they’re concerned that phones will distract students and can facilitate new forms of cheating, which is why Priest is steering the Dade system toward electronic detection. She said one of the systems she has examined clips to a teacher’s belt like a pager and buzzes whenever a message is sent from a phone inside the classroom. Another looks more like a metal detector wand and can be waived over a student to find a phone. The pager costs about $850, so teachers might rotate them to different classrooms for maximum efficiency if the system can’t afford enough to go around, Priest explained…

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