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Editorial: Parents may be problem in banning phones from class

Proposal coming down the pike in Arlington could meet with resistance

Arlington’s school leadership is slightly tardy to address the issue, but it appears there soon is going to be a serious push toward codified countywide rules about the use of phones and other electronic devices by students during the school day.

And that’s a good thing.

For now, neither the school leadership nor we have a magic wand to generate a perfect solution.  Whether it be a draconian policy (put phones away at the start of class and don’t touch them again until after the school day ends) or something with some carve-outs, the matter is up for discussion.

However it evolves and whatever the specifics, there needs to be a clear, countywide policy in place that acknowledges the negative impact of electronic devices during the school day, and deals with it in a cogent, coherent way.

All too often, for decades now, there has been too much leeway given to (or appropriated by) administrators at individual Arlington schools on policy interpretation and implementation. Such inconsistency is unfair to students, teachers and the administrators themselves.

After that digression, we return to the phone issue.

Anyone who has been around Arlington schools for any length of time already knows how this is going to play out. The pushback on any serious effort to restrict phone use is going to come not from the students – they’ll be fine with it – but from the “helicopter” parents who lurk over not just their children, but teachers and school staff, demanding their own way.

Will Arlington’s School Board and superintendent be able to stand up to the inevitable onslaught coming when this matter is up for adoption toward the end of the year? It will be a good test of, well, what we might call their testicular fortitude, but what a classier media outlet probably would refer to as their backbone.