They might be distraction for drivers, a nuisance in movie theaters and business meetings or even a pretentious affectation in the hands of shoppers and pedestrians.
But while some lament the ubiquitous presence of cell phones in today's society, local law enforcement officials, educators and students are predicting they can be a key to making schools safer. That's why Franklin County Schools have partnered with Sprint and Audiovox to provide cell phones through the PCS Phone Call for Safety program.
Representatives from the phone company, the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, students and teachers were on hand Tuesday in the Franklin County media center to kick off the program.
Call safety works by providing Franklin County and Western Hills High School's resource officers (two deputies from the local sheriff's department) with cell phones. The phone numbers are passed out to students on business cards and posted on banners which will be displayed in each school.
Students can call the numbers to report potential crimes or dangerous situations - anonymously if need be - to alert officers to threats such as drug abuse, guns in schools, physical abuse, theft, fights or vandalism. Students say the program gives them an outlet to report situations that could be threatening without looking like they're tattling on classmates.
For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.