Cell phones in the classroom? It's now a state law. The new law makes it required curriculum for public schools starting in elementary, but some parents aren't so sure it has a place in the classroom.
"It's sort of a double edged sword. On the one hand, it has provided a ton of information to our kids, but on the other hand it exposes them to individuals who are not well intended," said Domoine Rutledge, General Counsel for East Baton Rouge Schools. That's why the state legislature passed the law that requires public schools to make sure kids know what they're doing when they switch on those computers and cell phones.
In a grade and age appropriate manner, schools will teach kids safe ways to use social networking sites and email, help them understand how and what personal information to share online, and ways to avoid online sexual predators and cyber bullies. Some parents say this should not be the focus in classrooms.
"I think it's crazy. That's the parents' responsibility, not the teachers'," said Cheryl Ledbetter, a parent in New Orleans. "The teachers need to get these kids ready for the state testing, get them ready for exit exams, and prepare them for the outside world."
Others say teaching this stuff at school will help to drive home the importance of being safe with technology.
"I always thought that schools and homes worked together, and I'm old enough to remember when we didn't even have cell phones. So I know it's a new technology, and we do need to keep up with the times, or we'll actually fall behind," said Keith Williams, a Baton Rouge parent.
East Baton Rouge school leaders say that they hope this new law will help teachers and students stay ahead of the curve and away from the possible dangers in the cyber world.
"At the end of the day, to the extent that it saves a kid's life...it's well worth it," said Rutledge.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are developing teaching materials. Implementing it will be up to individual districts and governing boards.
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