From the New Zealand Herald, 28 June 1999

“Takapuna Grammar, on the Auckland North Shore, has banned students from bringing cellphones, because of fears they will interrupt classes, distract students and encourage contact with undesirable influences, such as drug suppliers.”

When I read it I laughed. I don’t specifically know what the students at Takapuna Grammar are like, but I’m guessing they are probably just normal teenagers. Apparently their school thinks that cellphones are going to mess them up.

So what, the teachers can’t do what movie theatres do and request that students turn their phones off before coming to class? And if your phone does rings during class then your teacher gets to confiscate it for a day or something. Is that too hard?

What do they think, the students are going to take calls in the middle of class with everyone else listening?

And I laughed even more at the “contact with undesirable influences” comment. Ringing up drug dealers? I think someone had been watching too many Hughes brothers films. Like some guy’s going to ring up in the middle of maths and order a vial of crack.

And y’know, when I was at high school I don’t think anyone had a cellphone, and people still managed to get drugs.

Oh wait, it’s not even the buying of drugs on the phone (“Yeah, stick it on my dad’s Visa”) that is the concern, it’s the undesirable influence of the drug suppliers. Like this:

[Ring ring]
Drug Supplier: Hello, Nasty Neil’s 24/7 Drug Emporium. Neil speaking.
Student: Hi, it’s Chris here from Takapuna Grammar. I would like to buy some marijuana cigarettes, please.
Drug Supplier: Drop out of school, do lots of drugs, steal things, scare old ladies, do wheelies in public parks and generally have no respect for authority.
Student: Ok, cool. Thanks.
Drug Supplier: Bye.

The negative effects of cellphones are being highly inflated and the positive effects aren’t even being looked at. Gee, what out of character behaviour that is coming from school administrators!

For a young man or woman, especially one who does not have their own means of transport, a cellphone can be a very useful tool and can offer a certain degree of security and freedom.

And it saves them using the school’s phone which costs the school 4 cents per minute.