Valley Voices

Cellphones are out-of-control classroom distraction

They are not listening.

We have a major problem in our schools and there’s a really simple, easy, great solution, but parents, we need your help. I’m an employee at Bullard High School in Fresno Unified School District, and I can tell you for sure that students abusing the use of cellphones in the classrooms is really, truly hurting your children’s teachers and your children’s ability to have a less stressful, more enjoyable learning environment.

Too many students are using their cellphones to talk, visit and check out of what’s being taught in the classroom. We need to correct this now. Cellphones can be a great learning tool, but parents need to lay down the law about how and when to use them.

It’s gotten way too big a problem for just teachers to handle. Teachers don’t have the time to correct the situation. We encourage our students not to be bullies, to abuse other students. Teach them not to abuse their teachers by not paying attention in class.

Teachers have very little way of knowing how a child is using the cellphone during class. Students constantly break the rules and ignore the teacher.

“Don’t be playing or texting on your cellphone during class,” the teachers will say. Students will go right ahead and do it anyway. Some are just sneakier than others.

If a good teacher tries to monitor this in class, it’s distracting and disturbing and often futile.

“Put the phone away, please,” the teacher will ask. The student does this. Teacher’s attention turns to something else in the classroom and out comes the phone. This is not just “bad” students doing this. This is happening with students on many levels.

For our dedicated teachers, it’s like trying to pull all the weeds in the garden.

“Ah, I got this one and one over here; but now they’re coming up again in the back row.” Teachers can’t magically fix this. This is an “everybody needs to help” thing.

When I was in high school, we had no cellphones – a few dinosaurs (yes, I know – old joke), but no phones. You sort of had to pay attention to the teachers or you just got too bored; so we all basically paid attention and guess what? It all worked pretty well. We all got a pretty darn good, basic education.

So now it’s 2016, and we need to adjust this wonderful “advancement in technology.” Cellphones are great but in the classroom, there can only be one channel on the TV set at a time. It’s called a teacher.

Please let your students know this – then the solution will be simple. When the teachers talk, listen!

Lin Terrana is a resident of Fresno; write to her at