Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Email to My Professors


I understand the request for students to have cell phones, etc turned off and "not seen or heard" during class as I believe this "rule" was made because of people abusing usage of this device during class while others are trying to learn.  For those that hadn't explicitly stated that they be turned off, they asked that I notify them at the beginning of class of any interruptions from a cell phone.  Unfortunately, one is not aware of an emergency phone call.  To avoid non-emergency calls during class, I simply turned off *all* notifications to my cell phone.  Easy ... problem solved.  I would like to request that you rethink this "rule" because of what occurred to me today.  It wasn't so easy after all and my muted, motionless cell phone created a bigger problem.

Prior to today and before every one of my classes, I respectfully turned off my sounds and any vibration on my cell phone before entering any classroom.  I politely asked my family and friends not to even contact me during times I was scheduled for class.  I can not even recall a "missed call" until today.  Even if I did, my cell was basically turned off. 

This morning, my cell phone was updated and this update changed my "I'm going to class now" setting (among other things) to not include turning off vibration.  All throughout a class I had today, I felt my cell phone in my purse buzz.  Thankfully to others around me, the noise was not heard - but I felt it. 

I became worried nearly the same time a Kutztown police officer visited the classroom I was in to ask if I had my cell phone.  I explained I had, but I left it in my purse.  I retrieved my belongings and proceeded to another room with the police officer.  He asked that I contact the Reading Dispatch in Berks County and let them know it was me.

I began trembling more than I was.  I asked the officer what was wrong.  I asked if someone was hurt.  I'm not quite sure why, but he would not tell me and asked only that I call that number and do as he asked.  Before giving me the number, he stated it might be a good idea that I sit down.  I had never been so scared in my life.

I spoke with dispatch and they explained to me that my son was taken to the hospital and that I should meet him there.  I am a mother of two boys - 16 and 7.  Great kids and I love them more than anything in the world.  I was also told that they had been trying to get a hold of me for nearly an hour.  I apologized and explained cell phones are not welcome in classrooms.

Please reconsider allowing students access to their cell phones during class.  I understand that others may have used them in the classroom, well, to be blunt ... stupidly, in the past; however, the ones that do not should not be penalized or felt their cell phone is inaccessible during class.  A student should be responsible enough not to use their cell phone for recreational purposes in class.  Face it, it's not only distracting, but plain rude.  Those who do use them in this manner should be dealt with separately.  One (or more) bad apples should not spoil the bunch.

By the way, my son is okay now and we are finally back home.  Thank you for taking this into consideration in the future.

Jamie Marie Binkley

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