Yeshiva Principal Enforcing No-Cell-Phone Policy; Proper Or Not?
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January 4, 2010 3:00 am at 3:00 am #591040
I heard of a principal in a mainstream yeshiva mesivta in brooklyn who does the following: In his yeshiva as most others the rule is that no cellphones are permitted. sometimes he tells bochurim to empty their pockets, is it proper or not?January 4, 2010 3:46 am at 3:46 am #673461goody613Member
if his policy is no cellphones,he has the right to enforce it.January 4, 2010 3:50 am at 3:50 am #673462
If it is a school rule, and this just my opinion – of COURSE it is proper. If there is reason to suspect that bochurim are not complying with the rule, then the principal is within his rights IMO. And I am the one who generally feels that at times there are too many rules being imposed on our kids. Nevertheless, if you send your child to a school that specifies the rule of no cellphones, they have a right to enforce that rule. What if he thought the kids were smoking pot? Wouldn’t you agree he would have the right to randomly check on them by asking them to empty their pockets or whatever else he wanted to check (lockers, book bags, etc.)? A Yeshivah, we tend to forget, is NOT a Democracy.
I do feel, though that there should be some availability for a bochur to have a cell phone (but perhaps give it to the Rebbie at the start of the day, so the boy doesn’t have it on him, to text or for other shtuss, but it is available in an emergency. The old line, “Well if the parents need to reach the student they can always call the school,” doesn’t work. Most schools have voicemail menus that take forever to navigate. In an emergency Chalilah, it could waste very precious time. There is surely a way to compromise.January 4, 2010 3:59 am at 3:59 am #673463
i agree 100%. and all yeshivos should have such a rule because i know a bachur that i predict that last year was a good bachur, learned well, (now a tenth grader) he had a cellphone from the beginning of mesivta with everything available on it. and unfortunatly he is making to much misuse of what is available and who knows what will be, i am watching what will be with him… i’ve only seen him get worse and worse and worse and bring other bochurim together r”lJanuary 4, 2010 4:52 am at 4:52 am #673464
well…personally i feel that a cellphone itself wont drive a kid over the edge…there must be other factors…and while they may be able to ban it now, within a few years schools will not be able to ban them…they are already becoming an absolute necessityJanuary 4, 2010 5:05 am at 5:05 am #673465potsandpansMember
while i fully agree that schools need to enforce their rules…however they need to do that with respect in a way that doesn’t infringe on their boy’s privacy and not in a way that makes them feel like they are being treated like little children…teenages resent that greatly! when a rule is in place, the school needs to remind its students occasionally about it, and if they see someone outwardly using a cell phone then they have a right to confinscate it…but to make boys empty their pockets like prisoners in cells do…or like someone being arrested is unncessary! if they have a valid reason to suspect that a certain boy has a cell or an unpermitted item, then they can take the boy aside and ask him to hand it over…or empty his pockets. but to stam stop bochurim in yeshiva and ask them to empty out their pockets…its not dignified and who knows what a boy might decide one day to keep in his pocket, maybe a certain candy wrapper or important personal notes that now have to be on public display just to prove he doesn’t have a cell phone on him.
Lehavdil havdalus, my grandma remembers how in holocaust they made e/o empty their pockets to make sure they wern’t hiding bread or valuables etc…now while in no way am i comparying the schools to them C”V…but its a degrading feeling when ur put on a spot and asked to empty out your pockets, especially if ur a good person who did nothing…
Its just not the way it shud be done….
if they do find a boy not following rules then they can act accordingly, but to stop random innoncent bachurim…may create an authoritive system that becomes resentful to many young boys!January 4, 2010 5:57 am at 5:57 am #673466yankdownunderMember
I think if the principal does not like a bochur using a cell phone, then he should organize coin phone booths. This way if a Bochur needs to contact his family he can do so.January 4, 2010 6:19 am at 6:19 am #673467mom12Participant
My sons yeshivos dont allow cellphones..there are plenty of paypones(he ‘s always calling from a different no.) and I have a toll free no. -which I got when my children started going to camp-January 4, 2010 7:48 am at 7:48 am #673468PhyllisMember
bombmaniac, Cell phones wont drive a kid over the edge, true, but it is very disturbing and not orderly when cell phones are ringing/ vibrating, when kids are going to corners to talk etc. It is not the decorum we try to set up in a school. This rule is too hard to enforce though, kids are not afraid enough.January 4, 2010 7:54 am at 7:54 am #673469
At the school where I used to teach, the girls were allowed to bring cell phones to school, but they weren’t allowed to have them in class. When they came in they had to leave their phones in the office. They could use their phones in the office when they weren’t in class, and they could take them at lunch time. If any girl was caught with a cell phone in class, it would have been confiscated. I don’t know if any girl ever had one in class. The policy really seemed to work.January 4, 2010 8:10 am at 8:10 am #673470
then you make a rule that if its heard in school it gets taken…vibrating isnt such a disturbance…you just push a button on the phone through yor pocket and it shuts offJanuary 4, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am #673471ZachKessinMember
Is the policy that the kids are not allowed to have a cell phone at all or, just in school. When I was in university every professor I ever had asked us to turn off our phones during class, and I see it as totally reasonable to ask students to turn off phones in school.
My high school age daughters use their phones going to and from if they hit transportation issues so telling them they could not bring them into school at all would be for them rather problematic.January 4, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm #673472positiveaynayimMember
I think a principal has a chiyuv to follow through with the rules of the school. If he won’t follow through, then why would the students follow the rules?January 4, 2010 1:06 pm at 1:06 pm #673473
I’d like a few more details. Does he randomly have the bochurim empty their pockets? Is it all the bochurim or does he randomly choose certain ones each time? Has he been doing this in response to a particular problem?
If there hasn’t been a problem then he is probably going overboard, although I would like to hear his side before making that determination.
In general, I feel that if the students are treated with respect they will respect the rules. If the students aren’t respecting the rules, there are bigger problems there than just cell phones.January 4, 2010 4:48 pm at 4:48 pm #673475YW Moderator-77Member
What means do they use to enforce it?January 4, 2010 5:40 pm at 5:40 pm #673476NY MomMember
I know of a mainstream girl school where the girls must deposit their phones in plastic containers in the front office at the beginning of the day and take them back at the end of the day.
In one boy’s yeshiva high school that I am aware of, there is a rule that cell phones must be turned off during learning. If they forget to turn them off, they are definitely not allowed to answer. If they answer, the phone is confiscated and not returned.
Cell phones are a problem for many reasons. If a yeshiva has a “no cell phone” policy, they must enforce it, with seichel.January 4, 2010 5:53 pm at 5:53 pm #673477
If the principal feels the need to do this, clearly there has already been a problem. Stop coddling the kids, and if you are one of the kids, don’t whine about it. Today’s kids have a lot more stuff than we ever dreamed of having. Frum or not, all students need to know that the rules WILL be enforced. As I said earlier, the Yeshivah is not a Democracy.
There is absolutely no reason why boys should have a phone on them during class hours, even if they are silent. There is always a compromise to be made that addresses the needs of the student versus the scool policy. Each boy can have a special area where his own cell phone is kept during class, and allowed access only during a break.we grew up without cell phones, and it didn’t hurt us a bit.
Kids can use phones to waste time in class, to text each other, to make drug deals (in the secular school system this is a terrible machlah), to cheat on a test, to look at stuff they shouldn’t be looking at, to check on ball game scores, etc. etc. None of these things constitutes the ever-elusive “emergency” that the boys seem to feel will arise, and if one does arise during classtime, Ch”vS, then the phone can be made available to them in a second. Kids WILL and do try to get away with anything, no matter how “good” they are.January 4, 2010 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #673478
oomis…phones have become an absolute necessity. schools will HAVE to compromise just like they did on internet. however there is no reason why the phone should be on in class.January 4, 2010 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #673479Josh31Participant
“if his policy is no cellphones,he has the right to enforce it”
Even if a policy is valid, not all means of enforcing can be used.
Torah law requires a debtor to repay debts if he has the means. However, the messenger from Bais Din can not search the debtor’s house to see if he has the means.January 4, 2010 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #673480charliehallParticipant
I could be wrong, but I think the public schools simply confiscate the phone if they catch it.January 4, 2010 6:22 pm at 6:22 pm #673481manishmaParticipant
The teachers should also not use their phones in front of the students to “rub it in”. Another issue is smoking. Many Yeshivos have a no smoking policy for the bochurim but when the Rabbeim walk into the classroom, the whole room starts to smell from cigarettes.January 4, 2010 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #673482richthefurrydocMember
In my medical office we ask patients not to use their cell phones in the waiting room. We certainly do not confiscate them but it is a courtesy to others who may need to be next to each other for a while. The yeshiva must contend with a comparable issue, that of unwelcome disruption which, without rules, could descend into disrespect for its classrooms and its teachers. Having completed my entire formal education before the invention of the cell phone, I can attest that it is quite possible to deal with urgencies without them.
The rosh yeshiva and the school’s governance have the right to set policy and enforce policy, which would include banning certain items and discreet search for contraband when its presence is seriously suspected. I think frisking a kid in the middle of the hall or doing a strip search at all would violate basic principles of avoiding public humiliation, that I hope every rebbe would hold in utmost regard.January 4, 2010 6:52 pm at 6:52 pm #673483FunnyBunnyMember
As I scrolled down, reading through this thread, I noticed the following comments a couple of times: (I think it was bombmaniac) “cell phones are already becoming an absolute necessity.” In my opinion, I think this is wrong- cell phones are only a necessity when we make it a necessity. I remember begging my parents for a cell phone throughout high school. I received one when I got back from seminary, about a year and a half ago. My cell phone has been broken on and off for the past 4 months and due to monetary issues, I’m unable to replace it. I must say, I have had very few issues with not having a phone at all times. It’s not a necessity to have a cell phone, especially not at a young age, such as high schoolers.January 4, 2010 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #673484
as i said it is BECOMING a necessity. they will have to reach a compromise eventually.
anyway back on topic…i think that randomly making a kid empty his pocket is quite demeaning. its like they are back in nursery. you gotta trust the kids somewhat…if you SEE them breaking the rules…THEN you can punish them.January 4, 2010 7:28 pm at 7:28 pm #673485a gutter yidParticipant
Cell phones should be banned and the school has every right to enforce the policy. Those for whom the poicy doesn’t match their taste can always find another school. Many Shuls also have the policy as do places of employment. B&H, for one, has a strictly enforced rule prohibiting the use of cell phones for employees: and that’s for adults! School age kids are not capable of adhering to any form of limit – by nature that’s the definition of teen-ager! Kol HaKavod to the principal who stands up for principles in this generation where ‘everything’s allowed!January 4, 2010 7:38 pm at 7:38 pm #673486FunnyBunnyMember
sorry, bombmaniaic, that wasn’t directed specifically toward you but to the idea of the “necessity”.
And to a gutter yid, and everyone who has the same opinion, I 100% agree!!!January 4, 2010 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #673487
B&H, for one, has a strictly enforced rule prohibiting the use of cell phones for employees: and that’s for adults!
Most people on this thread do not have a problem with cell phones being banned.
The question is, does B&H have their employees empty their pockets?January 4, 2010 7:42 pm at 7:42 pm #673488NechomahParticipant
I am really confused as to how cellphones are such a “necessity”. What dire emergency can happen during the course of the day when a boy is in yeshiva that he can’t wait until it’s over to listen to any voice mails he might have gotten and respond to them. I understand about the problem with yeshiva phone systems being difficult to navigate; they should consider having an emergency # to just leave a message that can be listened to by someone at regular intervals and then give messages to the boys if necessary. But I feel that a boy’s time is to be spent learning in yeshiva, not looking at anything on his cellphone.January 4, 2010 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #673489artchillParticipant
Every school can create their own policies and procedures. They can confiscate whatever is against the policy.
If it’s a mandated policy then the rule applies to the child of the board member and donor of the building the same as the “C” student and free tuition student. However, to arbitrarily pull over a bochur at random and require him to empty his pockets is wrong.
If there is suspicion of a rule violation at least TWO adults should witness the search of property. The adminstrator and a trusted staff person of the child in question who is currently on premises, or else contact the parents.
There are laws in America that must be followed or the school and the administration could find themselves in a world of trouble. The church/state argument will not trump the legal issues in this case.January 4, 2010 8:15 pm at 8:15 pm #673490jphoneMember
“Yeshiva Principal Enforcing No-Cell-Phone Policy; Proper Or Not?”
Are you really asking if a principal should enforce school policy? If the principal doesnt enforce school policy, who should/will?
Are you really asking if the policy is a good one? If so, the policy banning cell phones, or the policy if random search policy?January 4, 2010 8:15 pm at 8:15 pm #673491bptParticipant
My nieces school (BY flatbush type of HS)has the girls hand in their phones as they enter the bldg, and they collect them for the way home. That way they have the safety factor, but not the text-mania during the school day.
Oh, and did anyone notice, that this story got zero comments on the YWN news page? Go CR!January 4, 2010 8:36 pm at 8:36 pm #673492Feif UnParticipant
BP Totty, the story on the front page has the comments section closed. You can’t comment there.January 4, 2010 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #673493NY MomMember
BP Totty:Oh, and did anyone notice, that this story got zero comments on the YWN news page? Go CR!
BP Totty, you can’t comment on the news page. Commenting is disabled. They direct you to the CR to post a comment.January 4, 2010 8:43 pm at 8:43 pm #673494bptParticipant
Sorry – I clicked “send” before addressing the initial question. My 14 and 17 year old do not have a phone, my 19 y/o does, even though its against “school policy”. But he knows that if he gets nailed, I will not bail him out.
As young as 3rd grade, they were told, Mommy and Totty will stick by your side if your grades fall, or if you get swept up in some classroom antic to the extent possible. But if you knowingly break a rule, or talk with chutzpa, you’re on your own.
Entering school is like boarding an airplane. Some things pose a threat to the well being of others, and cannot be allowed. Have a pressing need? Discuss it with the authorites. Try and sneak it on, and the penalty cound be real stiff.
Ok, a cellphone is not the same as a bomb… or is it?
Bottom line, its the school’s rule, and you agree to abide by the rules when you enter the school. The search has to be done within the legal guidlines, but they are withing their rights to do so. But I do agree with Artchill; it should be enforced with the bigwigs kid as well. Sadly, it rarely is, but that’s another thread.January 4, 2010 9:08 pm at 9:08 pm #673495
“There are laws in America that must be followed or the school and the administration could find themselves in a world of trouble. The church/state argument will not trump the legal issues in this case.”
The laws in America as they pertain to search and seizure of students in school are not much of a concern here. First, students in American public schools have very little in the way of 4th amendment rights, as the Supreme Court has held that the students rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure are balanced by the school’s educational purpose and need to maintain order within the school. In short, from a legal standpoint, students have very little in the way of rights. Its even less of a concern with respect to a private school like a Yeshiva, which is not a state actor, and therefore not subject to the dictates of the 4th amendment. When you sign up to go to a private school like a Yeshiva, you’re essenntially signing up and consenting to their way of doing things.
As for the actual question, of course the principal should enforce his policy. Also, of course, he should not enforce it in a way that is demeaning to students, but students generally invite that sort of thing by trying to get around the policy. Its not clear if the policy being asked about it along the lines of cellphones are evil and should not be in this Yeshiva because they lead people to going OTD, or cellphones are disruptive and distracting to learning, so they should not be in this Yeshiva. Not that it really matters, students should follow the rules.January 4, 2010 9:28 pm at 9:28 pm #673496
I think that all of us can agree that no child shold be subjected to a HUMILIATING search, but turning one’s pockets out is not the same thing as a strip search. If one is worried, he should not have anything in his pockets that might be embarrassing, especially if he knows this kind of checkup is possible.January 4, 2010 9:36 pm at 9:36 pm #673497
its not so much embarrassing as demeaningJanuary 4, 2010 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #673498
If a principal is randomly asking older students to show their pockets, its demeaning. But frankly, I can’t really imagine that sort of random behavior taking place. If a principal asks a student to turn out his pockets because yesterday the student was talking on a cellphone, was told not to bring it to school with him, and the principal then saw him with it again, but when asked the student denies it, it may be demeaning, but its also necessary.January 4, 2010 9:48 pm at 9:48 pm #673499happyOOTerParticipant
They should confiscate cell phones at shuls too so that you are not hearing them during davening!! And if you are done more than 5 minutes before everyone else, you don’t get it back LOL…January 4, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm #673500jewish and working 22Member
Should a principal enforce the rules in his school, YES! Definitely 100%. However, should he go around asking bochurim to empty their pockets and/or bags to search their belongings for cellphones, then definitely NO! It is embarrassing, counterproductive to a high school mentality (most teenagers would feel that they are being picked on and will be embarrassed if it is done in a public area), and it is 100% ILLEGAL to do in the U.S.A. It is a violation of ones personal rights.
If the boy is openly using in the school then the Principal, abiding by the rules of the school, should confiscate it and return it at the end of the day or send it back to the parents. However, the principal should not actively search for them when they are put away. And the school should not have enact rules where it is illegal or extremely hard to enforce.January 4, 2010 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm #673501
“it is 100% ILLEGAL to do in the U.S.A. It is a violation of ones personal rights.”
This is not correct.January 5, 2010 12:30 am at 12:30 am #673502LongbeachParticipant
The principal is wrong, this is a high school not third grade. This is what causes kids to hate rabbonim. We are dealing with a student that owns a phone. As long as he doesn’t take it out of his pocket or it does not ring / vibrate, the school does not have a right to search his pocket.January 5, 2010 3:01 am at 3:01 am #673503
^yeah that. you have to trust students to a certain degreeJanuary 5, 2010 3:32 am at 3:32 am #673504
It is not a violation of a student’s rights, and if the principal is doing this, clearly there is a reason for it. If some boys did not abuse the privilege (NOT the right) of having a cell phone, there would be no need for this type of reaction. If the principal is merely exercising his authority to the point where it is abusive, then the parent body need to meet with him to discuss the problem. But he still sits in the driver’s seat. If the students don’t like it, they should not bring phones to school,or they should find another school more to their liking (good luck with that). It is precisely the teenagers in high school who cause problems. Generally, third graders are still more obedient to authority.January 5, 2010 7:00 am at 7:00 am #673505hodulashemParticipant
in my highschool the rule was that you can’t use your cell phone in school. they understood that some students and/or their parents felt safer if they had a cell with them on the way to or from school, so we were allowed to bring it but once we arrived we were not allowed to use it and they didn’t want to see it. if a student was found using her cell in school it was confiscated… girls were still texting behind their desks so later it was necessary to add that if a student was found with a cell phone they would be suspended for a short time… once that rule was made, cell phones remained in our bags and only occasionally, would someone text with their hands in their bags and only if the teachers were not in the classroom, meaning that it only happened by breaks…
i remember girls from other schools telling me how they were not allowed to have cell phones and the teachers would sometimes search through their bags!!! this invasion of privacy upset them so much! and they didn’t feel it was right for the hanhala to decide what they were allowed to own… this display of lack of trust caused the students not to trust their hanhala…January 5, 2010 1:30 pm at 1:30 pm #673506
I feel so honoured to see my thread on the front page of YWN, thank you ADMIN.
My opinion personally is that a principal should not tell a bochur to empty his pockets because, as mentioned before we are talking about HS boys, not elementary.
If the principal sees the bochur take out his cellphone, then he has a full right to confiscate it, otherwise i don’t think it’s right for a principal to randomly tell a student to empty his pocket.January 5, 2010 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #673507
So what if the principal did NOT see it, but the boy is talking on his cell or texting, or accessing the internet? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it fall? If no one sees us commit an aveira of any kind (Hashem sees it, though), are we still guilty? Come on. HS boys are worse than elementary, and you and I both know it. Kids will do whatever they can get away with doing. I don’t think the phone itself is intrinsically the problem. I think the problem is that a rule of a school is possibly not being followed, and the principal wants to enforce it by all emans. If there is no phone in the pocket, the boy will not be caught. WOuld you feel the same way if it were random drug testing?January 5, 2010 3:44 pm at 3:44 pm #673508
WOuld you feel the same way if it were random drug testing?
Absolutely not. If the choice is empyting pockets for a cell phone or random drug testing, I’ll have to go with emptying pockets.
Emptying pockets is demeaning and an invasion of privacy.
Random drug testing, is much worse as it requires people to submit their bodily fluids.
If there is a reason to suspect a particular student is using illegal drugs, that student should be dealt with. But to do a random search without cause is not a way to engender respect for the hanhala. Why treat all the students as suspects?
The one possible exception to this would be a yeshiva for “problem” boys. But in a regular yeshiva where they have standards of admission and the boys come from good families I don’t see any reason to treat the bochurim as possible criminals.January 5, 2010 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #673509
and THAT is where the system miserably fails oomis. right at your post. there are a few reasons why a high school kid might obey rules.
they are afraid of being kicked out
they are afraid of detention
or…they love and respect their rebbeim and what their rebbi says they follow.
ideally yeshivos should run on the third one. it is better for everyone, the teachers have a better teaching experience…and the students have a better learning experience. however that is ideal…and will never happen in the purest sense, so there have to be rules and punishments set up. that being said…the most important time of a bochur’s life is high school. they make very important choices in high school that affect the rest of their lives…and that is a big responsibility and “achrayus” that no one can possibly bear on their own. they NEED the guidance of their rebbeim to help them make these decisions. in order for the rebbi to help a bochur make the proper decisions he needs to know certain private and intimate details about that bochur in order to help him make a decision that is right for HIM.
are you starting to see the problem? its rules like that that estrange a rebbi and talmid. if a bochur feels like an animal in a cage in high school…and sees authority figures there as dog trainers…they will never trust and love their rebbeim enough to let them in. rules are important without rules there would just be chaos…but everything in moderation. make too many ridiculous rules and it will just backfire.January 5, 2010 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #673510jphoneMember
“Why treat all the students as suspects?”
Did you fly recently?
Have you ever driven a commercial vehicle through a bridge or tunnel in NYC?
The head in the sand “ameich kulam tzadikim” approach, or as the army calls it “dont ask dont tell”, is the cause for a lot of problems. If there is a zero tolerance policy, then thats how it should be enforced, otherwise modify the policy. “Give them a finger, they take a hand” is quite appropo to high school boys.
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