Should Teachers Take Students’ Phones Away On School Trips? #SquashTheBeef #Ad

    This past week, my son went on his eighth grade Senior Trip to Philadelphia.  This was the first time that he was away from his father and I for the whole day in another state.  As you all can imagine, I was a nervous mom all day wondering if he was having a good time and if he was safe.  As parents we want our children to have many wonderful opportunities and experiences but we also want to protect them and keep them safe whenever possible.

    Sometime in the afternoon, one of the parents on the trip messaged me to let me know that all the boys had gotten in trouble and their teacher was going to take their mobile phones away for the remainder of the trip.  Now, let me tell you, as an educator of over seventeen years, I am keenly aware of how distracting phones can be when it comes to the classroom.  Had his teacher chosen to take my son’s phone away in school, I would have been all in support of it but this was not the scenario and I felt she was completely wrong in taking away their devices.

    It seems that they were on a scenic tour of historical Philadelphia when two of the boys in my son’s class decided to talk and take photos.  The tour guide admonished them and asked them to put their mobile devices away.  As a result, their teacher proceeded to give them a speech about how disappointed she was and what an embarrassment they were to their entire school.  Mind you, she directed her ire at all the boys in the class instead of just speaking to the two boys who were involved.  Additionally, she took all the boys’ phones away including the ones who had been quiet during the guided tour.

    So here is my beef, the teacher had no right to take any of the kids’ phones away.  As parents, we entrusted the school with the safety of our children while they traveled to another state on this trip.  Due to her taking their phones away, many parents were unable to contact their children for many hours.

    Since the bus was late getting back because of traffic, it caused even more concern for parents who were expecting the class’s return by 7:30 PM.  I feel that it was irresponsible and inconsiderate for the teacher to take the boys’ mobile phones away knowing that they were all far from home and that parents were relying on this line of communication in order to stay in touch with their kids.

    Here is what I would like to know from you guys:  What is your stance on whether teachers should be allowed to take students’ phones on school trips?  Does the nature of the trip and how far the students are from home factor in when it comes to your perspective?  Should teachers have to consult with parents before taking their children’s mobile devices away? is an innovative new site where members can post opposing viewpoints about a given subject.  They are invited to post their “beef” and send a message to the person with whom they have a disagreement.  The individual with whom they have a disagreement is then is notified and invited to create a log in and post his or her side of the disagreement.  The community then reads the “beef” and can comment and vote for the party’s post they agree with the most.  Results are displayed in a “Tug of War” format, which showcases real-time back and forth debate.

    I would love to know what your point of view is on this controversial topic.  Head over to and give us your two cents on this beef, convince us that your opinion is the right one, or just drop us a line with some of your thoughts on this issue!

Let’s Discuss:  What is your beef when it comes to whether or not teachers should be able to take students’ phones on school trips?

Disclosure: This sponsored post is being shared on behalf of  All opinions are 100% my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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  1. I think they should take them away. They are distracting. Unless there is some sort of rule that kids can ONLY take them out on the bus or be confiscated….

  2. This was so insightful. I don’t think they should take them away on school trips. Maybe a warning and then if they still don’t stop take the phones away from the ones who didn’t listen. Maybe have a talk and suggest it to the teacher next time. My mom’s a principal and gets all kinds of suggestions and complaints on a daily basis and I’ve never heard this one before.

  3. Thank you for sharing!! Very insightful. And I will definitely be checking out your website suggestion.

  4. I don’t have kids so I have no idea how I would react. But I have a program on my phone that can be programmed to prevent use outside of certain time frames. For example it could be programmed so that kids are only able to text parents/police during certain hours and not use any other function. I do think school going forward are going to need stricter policies regarding phones, having a program like this allows parents contact and the school with a more distraction free environment.

  5. Firstly, Squashthebeef sounds like my kind of place, but I’d probably lose two hours and not even realise – love a good debate! As for the phones – my sons are not allowed to take any valuables, including phones, on school trips (they are 12 and 8). I wholeheartedly agree with the policy, and it would certainly have prevented this predicament. As for teachers removing phones? Yes, I think that as the ones in charge, they need to do whatever they see fit!

  6. While I understand the teacher’s need to keep the kids focused on the trip istelf (and not their screens), I don’t think the phones should have been taken away- especially because being on a field trip (and possibly getting lost from the group) is a great reason to keep it on you!

  7. Ohh this is a tough one as I understand the frustration on both sides. I am not sure how the teacher could have kept the boys from causing more of a distraction but I agree taking away a child’s only means of contact to a parent is unacceptable.

  8. What an awesome post! Something I hadn’t considered before since my kids don’t have phones yet! Not looking forward to dealing with this when the time comes.

  9. I’m speaking as a former school principal. I agree with you, in that, these kids were away from their homes and campus. They need the protection that a cell phone provides. If something had happened that they needed that phone, I would hate to be the administrator in that scenario.

  10. I am a little bit turned with this one but I think that the teacher was right to take them away as they were a distraction. While they are in their teachers care, the teacher is in charge and they need to be able to discipline your kids. Parents should be able to contact the teachers at all times in this case. She should have had a mailing list or group text to let all parents know the situation.

  11. If it was disrupting the tour, it was wise of the teacher to take the phones away. It’s important that the kids learn their place especially when it comes to respecting historical sites. I’ve used this site and I think it’s a great way to talk about what’s on your mind.

  12. Oh wow! I would have been worried too. I would absolutely understand if they were in school and in class; but they’re out on a trip. And anything can happen on a trip; parents need to be in contact with their kids as needed. The kids could have easily gotten lost somewhere and their cellphone would have helped them in getting found.

  13. Honestly, in this case I don’t think they should have been taken away. This is a far trip and I know if my child had a means of communicating, I would have liked to be in touch with him. Unless, the kids were being naughty with the phones, that is a different case! Although, I do like the group text idea from the other readers.

  14. Growing up, we didn’t have cell phones (gosh – makes me sound old but I’m 30) in school. The only time I had a cell phone was when we would have away soccer games and I would borrow my mom’s track phone so I could call her when we were close to home so she could pick me up at the school. I can’t imagine being a kid today and being allowed to have a cell phone constantly, even at school. I get it that they want to have their phones with them to take pictures and be connected to the parents, but I think they should’ve been left in the backpacks at all times and on silent. There could be phone time during breaks or lunch. I get so annoyed seeing all of these kids with their noses constantly on the phone. There were 2 boys walking my road with their dog the other day and both had their heads down at their phones, not even noticing I was behind them in my vehicle. Super annoying!

  15. This is a really interesting and difficult situation. I wonder if the expectation of not having phones out and being used while on the tours etc. would have been a better option, and then let the kids have them back on the way back home?

  16. I absolutely think teachers have the right to take phones away from kids no matter where they are. We survived decades without having cellphones so I don’t think behaviors or norms in school should change now. When you are in school or on a school trip kids should behave themselves and if they are not allowed to be taking photos, then they shouldn’t. Do I think the teacher should have caused such a scene or taking all the phones away from the boys, of course not. Those causing the problem should have been the only ones to get in trouble.

  17. I’m of the mindset that if kids are not behaving or acting inappropriately with their phones then they should lose them. I kind of wish parents would teach their kids proper phone and social etiquette. You see so many people behaving badly in public because they have a phone. No one seems to pay attention anymore because they have to record every moment and it can be very distracting. I also don’t buy the excuse that your kids shouldn’t lose their phones for safety reasons or because you might have to wait to pick them up because of traffic. Parents and kids did just fine before phones.

  18. I don’t think it is a good idea to take the phone away just in case there is an emergency. For example, if one of the children on the field trip gets lost or hurt.

  19. I don’t think phones should be banned on school trips. I mean, if a child gets separated from the group they can call one of their classmates to find out where they are, and hopefully find them quicker than they would if they hadn’t got a phone on them!!

  20. I think it’s more of education on both ends, the teachers and school staff to understand WHY they need their phones, for emergencies, but also for the students to understand the distraction consequences.

  21. It is still during school hours, so yes! I say, no phones! They are a big distraction!

  22. I don’t agree with the teacher taking the phones away at all on an out of state trip. If phones were not going to be allowed then parents should have been made aware of that far ahead of time.

  23. To preface, I’m both a teacher and a mom. I think, in this day and age, when parents have become so accustomed to being able to reach out to their kids every moment of the day, this has become a very tricky problem. My policy is Off-and-Away – for everyone, including myself. If you want to keep your phone in your pocket, fine. But I don’t want to see it. If there is a compelling reason for a kid to have a phone out – say Mom is in the hospital or returning from a combat mission, then I think allowances can be made; but otherwise, there is no reason anyone has to have a phone out and in front of them during the course of a normal day. Parents should have a contact number for the teacher, of course, but really, a phone is a privilege for kids, not a right. I think we get those things mixed up sometimes.

  24. I feel like expectations should be laid out prior to the field trip for the students/parents/teachers. I would think it would be reasonable to set the expectation that phones can be used for photos, but if it becomes a distraction, they could be confiscated, but returned on the bus so students can communicate with their parents.

  25. Well, yes I agree. If we want them to acknowledge the beauty and learn some good things then we should take away their phones.

  26. I think its a good idea. School Field Trips are rare and you don’t need to ruin it by missing out on the experience altogether!

  27. In school, yes teachers can take away the phone. On a field trip off of school grounds the answer is no. Abuse of power in the school system has always been a problem.

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