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Mystery Ringtone Makes it Harder to Catch Students Using Cell Phones

Parents of today's students could probably tell you the very first time they heard of something called a "cellular phone." Their children, on the other hand, have grown up with them. KSMU's Jamie Givens reports on cell phone use in Springfield schools.

Kids aren't asking for CDs or Nerf guns for their adolescent birthdays anymore, they're demanding cell phones. Everywhere you look, there's a teen with a phone to his or her ear and another thumbing away at a text message.

But in local high schools, theses hand-held devices are creating a nuisance.

Some faculty say that the phones occasionally disrupt class when a student leaves the ringer on.

Justin Herrell is the Executive Director for High Schools for the Springfield Public School District.

He says some kids have been caught cheating by sending text messages to each other.

He says he's even heard of times when students send text messages without even removing the phone from their pocket.

Herrell was also the principal at Hillcrest High School from 2004 to 2007. He says his policy at Hillcrest was that cell phones were not allowed at all.

The current cell phone policy at Hillcrest is a little more lenient than Herrell's former plan. Students are now allowed to use there phones before and after school, in between classes and even during lunch.

However, students are still prohibited from using their cell phones in any way during class.

Herrell says many phones have a high-pitched ring tone that can't be heard by people above a certain age.

Meghan Page is a sophomore at Parkview High School and says she knows people with this ringtone. She says it's called the "mosquito."

Page was the lone student speaker at the Teens and Technology Forum Tuesday night at the Central High School auditorium.

Community Partnership hosted the event which was designed to educate parents on the ever-growing relationship between technology and their children.

Each person at the event received a folder with information including a parent guide to internet safety, as well as common abbreviations and slang for texting.

Page says many parents have a hard time understanding exactly how much their children are using technology and that it's mainly just a way for kids to communicate.

Along with helping parents understand technology, the panel also focused on keeping children safe when online.

The panel encourages parents to develop an internet agreement plan with their kids and also to place the computer in an open room.

For KSMU News, I'm Jamie Givens.