Q&A: Deni Hirsh, 

Memphis City Schools District 2 board commissioner

Since the early '90s, cell phones have been banned in Memphis City Schools. It doesn't matter whether they're turned on or off or if it's during -- or after -- the school day.

And even with cell phones becoming increasingly popular -- 55 percent of teenagers own cell phones, according to a 2005 survey by the Yankee Group -- last week the Memphis City Schools board voted 7-1 to keep the cell-phone ban in place.

Board member Deni Hirsh was the lone dissenting vote. She wanted to change the policy to allow students to bring phones to school as long as they didn't use them during school hours. This week, the Flyer connected with Hirsh. -- by Shea O'Rourke

Flyer: What's your call on cell phones at schools?

Hirsh: They're not bad by simply existing. It's the use of a cell phone during school that can become a problem. When a child uses a cell phone to cheat, that's not a cell phone issue, that's a cheating issue. We're treating all kids as if they're going to behave badly before they ever do it.

Does being a parent shape your view of the issue?

As a mom, I know what it's like. I was in a car accident on my way to pick my children up one day, at a time when the office wasn't answering phones. And after school hours, offices are closed. Kids can't let their parents know if a practice ends late.

What about the distraction of cell phones?

Teachers often say that kids forget to turn their phones off, but it would be very simple to have an announcement each day -- like [they do] at plays -- reminding kids to turn off their phones. If teachers are concerned about cheating, they can take up students' cell phones before giving a test.

Some say kids should be able to keep phones in their cars, but that's not fair to kids who don't drive. We have the issue of safety for kids walking to and from school. That's where I really feel strongly. It shouldn't be our right to say what safety precautions parents can take for their kids.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Blank Canvas

      Input sought on the future of Rust Hall and Brooks Museum.
    • Flying Axes

      Civil Axe brings new sport to Memphis.

Blogs

We Saw You

Science of Wine and more!

News Blog

Election Administrator Addresses Ballot Issues

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Shocktober V Gets Scary At The Time Warp Drive-In

Fly On The Wall Blog

Great Works of Literature as Written by the Shelby Co. Election Commission

News Blog

'Misleading' Ballot Questions Draw Ire from Voters

Music Blog

Madjack Records: 20 Years of Homespun Magic

News Blog

20 Under 30 Nominations are Open

ADVERTISEMENT

More by John Branston

  • Pyramid History 101

    Bass Pro should acknowledge the big pointy building’s backstory.
    • May 14, 2015
  • Let it Be

    What to do about the Fairgrounds? How about nothing?
    • Jan 29, 2015
  • Let’s Go, Shelby County Schools!

    Some suggestions for how the new Shelby County Schools system can hold its own in the years to come.
    • Aug 14, 2014
  • More »

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation