A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Opinion

The best way to stop a bad student with a phone is a good student with a phone

BREAKING NEWS:  Washington High School made a bold move in trying to eliminate the distraction of cell phones in the classroom. After yet another incident last week, Principal Donny Prumt passionately detailed his ingenious plan: “I’m tired of people claiming that cell phone distraction can be avoided by removing the devices from the classroom. That is fake news. It’s time to take some real action and handle the situation directly.”

   His revolutionary idea uses phones to counteract phones. Prumt explains, “The only way to stop a bad student with a phone is a good student with a phone.” When one student is distracted by the ping of a text, his or her classmates are trained to pull out their own device, locate the perpetrator, snap a photo of the student abusing his phone, and tweet it to the proper authorities.

   Prumt claims to have seen success already, “This plan is one of the best plans. It has worked tremendously so far, much better than any other plans. I am very pleased.”

   This method of limiting cell phone distraction in is stark contrast to the method used at Outback High School. After noticing a striking correlation between slipping SAT scores and cell phone usage in class, Principal Scotty Morris decided to ban the devices entirely from the classrooms. Since then, test scores have shot back up, as has the teachers’ sanity.

   Despite this success, Prumpt will not budge, “People tell me about Outback. They bring up Outback and I tell them that this simply won’t work at Washington. It just won’t. We have a different culture here at Washington, and the cell phone problem is a complex, complicated thing. If we just banned cell phones altogether, that would just make things worse. Trust me.”

   Verizon spokesperson Charlie Hest chimed in, explaining the controversy that would arise from an all-encompassing ban. “Maybe banning cell phones was feasible at Outback, but the original founders of Washington High School gave students the right to have their cell phones in class for a reason. It’s directly stated in item two of the student handbook, and we can’t just change these rules.” Hest began saying that if parents and teachers pushed for the removal of cellphones from classes “they would have to pry the cell phones from the students cold, dead, erm, uhh, they just shouldn’t take them away.”

   After the announcement, some teachers and parents have taken to the streets in outrage. At a march on Saturday, protesters expressed their frustration and disbelief. “It’s absolutely ridiculous. Verizon is pouring money into Prumt’s pockets to be the voice of this campaign. He doesn’t care about our students, just his paycheck,” teacher Charles Schumaker pointed out. Prumt neglected to comment on the protest, seen driving past in his Bentley Mulsanne, which notably had a large Verizon logo on the side.  

   There are disgruntled students as well. Sr. Nikki Polsky lamented, “Can someone explain to me how this plan is supposed to help limit distractions? It’s literally encouraging more cell phone usage than ever before. There used to be one or two people on their phones in my classes, but now there are at least ten every day.”

   But amidst the confusion and chaos, supporters of Prumt persist. Rory Blunner, a member of the school board, shook his head in disgust at the sight of protesters, “They need to have more faith in our principal; he knows what he’s doing. In fact, let’s enforce this rule anywhere that cell phones cause a disturbance: grocery stores, restaurants, churches, heck even the roads! If I was out on the road and saw a distracted driver using their cell phone, the first thing I would do is pull out my own phone and report it immediately.”

   Hest released a statement later that night announcing the company’s support: “We are proud to stand by Prumt in light of his latest cell phone proposal. Washington is lucky to finally have a principal with some common sense. And for those anti-cell phone teachers, it’s best you stay in your own lane. Stick to the alphabet and equations and leave making the rules to someone else.”

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