You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Students must be careful when bringing cellphones, iPods to school

By Rich Kinsey

It's about that time of year again. While I hate to see summer coming to an end, the rain and colder temperatures reminded me that fall inevitably is on its way. I also was reminded school was about to begin again by all the “Back to School” sales and advertising.

Kids going back to school mean big bills for parents who have to open their wallets for new clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies for their children. One of the best investments a parent can make? A black and silver Sharpie or other permanent marker.


Mikalai Bachkou |

Each year numerous items wind up on the pile in the lost and found at every school. Those items would not be there if they were marked somewhere. Furthermore jackets, boots, binders, books, calculators, gym clothes, and other items that are marked are less likely to be stolen.

Probably the most stolen items, in all of the schools, are small electronic devices. It would be nice if kids could leave their electronic devices like cellphones and iPods at home, but in our world today that will not happen. Cellphones are a crucial device for many families, who depend on them for communications with their child after school.

I am not sure about your children, but my sons have gone through plenty of cellphones. There was no need getting them the latest greatest models — they needed “brick” cellphones because theirs constantly were being dropped, thrown, soaked, lost or stolen. For that reason, the majority of theirs were purchased at department stores or drug stores for $10 to $30.

My youngest son, who was given a hand-me-down phone from his brother that was supposed to be “bomb-proof,” found a way to render it useless. He even carries an extra $10 phone, still in the package, in his sea bag as he navigates around the Gulf of Mexico for college.

Students really do not need the latest 4G technology cellphone in school where they should not be used during the day anyway. If they do carry a phone to school, they should keep it turned off, but on their person. Most cellphones come up missing from lockers left unlocked or backpacks left unattended.

The same is true for any other electronic devices or jewelry. These items should be kept on the student's person whenever possible and not left in lockers or unattended backpacks.

Electronic items also should be password protected, rendering them less valuable to any would-be thief. Parents also may consider marking the electronic device using that Sharpie mentioned earlier — if it does not cause too much undue psychological trauma to your child.

One must realize there are certain items that might be rendered useless and too uncool to be seen with, if mom or dad improperly mark them. Parents must beware and must decide for themselves whether this is one of the many adolescent battles they want to wage.

Remind your students who carry laptop computers to password protect them, back up all their work to the cyber clouds or an external storage device, and never leave laptops unattended. If they are not watching their computer they should be carrying it or have it locked up somewhere.

Finally, remember to purchase and teach your child how to use locks. Padlocks will not keep the most determined thief out, but they will deter the majority of thieves. Padlocks and locked lockers also will keep most “honest” kids from entering lockers for mischief, pranks or to “borrow” from the locker’s owner.

If your child rides a bicycle to school, a good bicycle lock is an absolute must. Make sure young riders learn to carry bicycle locks with them and lock up their bikes whenever the bikes are out of their sight.

If your student rides a bicycle to school, teach them to obey the traffic laws and always wear a bicycle helmet. The bicycle helmet should be placed in their locker or backpack when not protecting the student’s noggin.

Finally before school begins, motorists should enjoy the relative ease of moving through traffic in the downtown area of Ann Arbor. Soon that will all change and pedestrians, bicycles and traffic will be everywhere. Have as much fun as the rest of the summer will allow you and, for students, I wish you the best for the coming school year.

Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.

Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for



Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

At my school, they strongly suggest keeping phones, iPods, and other devices off in our lockers. Personally, I keep them in my locker. Some kids have them with no sound on in their pockets... If teachers see them out, they confiscate them. People on here continue to say "why don't they just keep them at home?" After school a large group of my friends and I walk home from school. It's a good mile and a half. We cross busy roads such as Liberty Avenue and South Seventh Street. We have our cell phones as a symbol of security. We can call our parents when we need to. Most adults won't agree with me considering they say they "survived all of their teenage years with no cell phone" but I think cell phones are a necessity. Children these days are required to take more precaution. Most of our parent's generations would play in the streets as kids. We have to be careful about so many more things than in the past. If any of you read this, thank you for even considering reading my opinion. :)


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Good point about marking clothing. I was amazed at the amount of clothing on tables near entrances of many schools that was found around the school grounds. Looked like the Salvation Army. I could not understand why Moms and Dads never noticed the loss of so much clothing. As far as cell phones, that should be a big no cell phones on in school. If a child needs to be reached or needs to reach a parent, that is what the office phones are for. Especially at the upper grades where you have to constantly threaten to seize a phone.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

This world frightens and confuses me. Sometimes when I get a text message on my phone machine, I wonder: "Did little demons get inside and type it?" I don't know. My primitive mind can't grasp these concepts.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

I cannot agree more with this sentiment. I have mine blocked and use it as paper weight or phone. That is it.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

how in the world did families every survive without cellphones? what about teenagers? oh wait, they did, for YEARS


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

Smoke signals and pay phones.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

The AAPS high schools won't have police officers this year. Leave the electronics at home.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

I got an email from the acting principal saying they will be confiscated if seen. Not sure why when half the students are hooked up and using them. Good luck with this one.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

At the middle school level, I haven't seen much theft for highly valued items (i.e., iPhones, iPods, etc.). At the high school, watch out! The kids are horrible. I had an iTouch stolen from a girl while she was in her seat with almost no movement going on in class. It was stolen, taken to the bathroom, switched out to another student from another class, and gone in two minutes. If you have kids entering high school this year, you may want to have a discussion about the value of these items and the necessity of not leaving them unattended in bags or on desks.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

Thanks Mom! This sounds like the advice a mother would give to her five year old kid. Suppose money is no object like it is for some of the 1%er's, Then the kid would need the latest 4G phone and other electronic devices just to be cool!


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

If wants to do a story on cell phones, contact the Ypsilanti School system, which allows phones ON in the classrooms! And has a policy that the kids can do so without repercussions! Can you say cheating on tests? Not paying attention to the teacher, not learning anything? And you wonder why public schools continue to head in the wrong direction? Our friend the teacher in the system says that the board and Superintendent have made it clear that the kids have control of their phones and their disruptive activity. As for our friend, he taught in the system one year, and left for another suburban school the following year.


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Billy Bob, they DON'T! The Code of Conduct states clearly that they are not to be used during the school day. Don't just accept at face value any ridiculous thing that someone posts.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Ever teach, Hail? Guess again. There are distractions enough without kids having the phone out or surfing the web while guided education is going on in the room. I can't believe they would allow them on during class.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

Yes, not allowing technology in the classroom is the key to success! It's technology so it must be distracting.....and you wonder why we're failing in education? Why don't we use the technology that exists and kids have rather than forcing old, outdated, ways of education onto our future generations. Just because you were taught with a chalkboard doesn't mean our kids have to be. There are so many useful things you can do with iphone and ipads that aren't related to facebook or text messages.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

From the Ypsilanti Public Schools Code of Conduct: "Per state law, cell phones are permitted to be carried at school, but students are not allowed to use them during the school day. Any violation of this rule will result in confiscation of the cell phone with return to parent." Your friend clearly has other issues. Also, RunsWithScissors, thank you for that very useful phrase for an all-too-common occurrence in the Comments section.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Topic highjack.