DR. WALLACE: In previous school years, I’ve had teachers who announced at the beginning of every class that there was no cellphone usage of any kind allowed in the classroom. Of course, everyone was still texting on their phones in class, some students surfed the internet and others even watched videos without the sound on.
This fall in our area, we are poised to return to our high school in person after this long pandemic. My question is about this topic of student cellphones. Can high school teachers confiscate a student’s cellphone due to unauthorized use in a classroom during class? — Curious About This, via email
CURIOUS ABOUT THIS: Many teachers can ban the use of cellphones in their classroom; however, just as you said, some students are still tempted to use their phones in class. Teachers are hired to do a job, and that job is to teach students about the pertinent subject matter the class syllabus calls for.
Many teachers decide to ignore cellphone discipline and simply teach the class to those paying attention. If a student elects to not pay attention in class, a low grade in class participation is warranted. Yes, tests and term papers do usually account for the preponderance of a particular student’s grade, but the area of class participation is a great equalizer and can loom large enough to knock a distracted student’s final overall performance down a full letter grade or more in some circumstances.
And yes, if a teacher does wish to confiscate a cellphone during a class due to rules being broken, that teacher could likely hold that phone for the duration of the class and then simply return the phone to the student when the class ends. As with most issues, these rules can vary from school district to school district, so teachers check to see what these rules are in advance of enforcing them.
NO SWEETS OR DESSERTS ARE ALLOWED!
DR. WALLACE: My mom and dad won’t allow me to have sweets, desserts, candy or even sugary drinks, even after I finish all my dinner!
I really like eating desserts like cookies or cake once in a while. I don’t need them every day, but once or twice a week would be reasonable, don’t you agree? My mom says it’s not healthy for me to consume any sugar at all! Is this true? — Occasional Dessert Eater, via email
OCCASIONAL DESSERT EATER: The key to a healthy diet is sensible portions and variety. You should be allowed to include a few sweets (in moderation!) here and there as part of your healthy diet. The key is your consumption of sweets should be limited to a very small part of your overall weekly diet and to remain healthy, you should strive to limit your intake on any given day or week. There’s a reason why desserts and various sweets are considered treats rather than dietary staples after all!
I do agree in general with your mother that it is important for children to be aware of the amount of sugar and sugar-based products they consume. However, I vary from her perspective of cutting them out entirely and instead personally feel that children should be taught that having a small portion of sugar or sweets on occasion is reasonable.
In some cases, a complete ban on items like sweets or desserts can eventually lead to a “binge” mentality whereby the person restricted may go overboard once presented with an opportunity to consume these items without detection. As with most things in life, prudence and moderation are generally good guidelines to follow.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.