Middle School Bans Student Cell Phones, Uses Metal Detectors

A middle school in China uses metal detectors to check if students are carrying cell phones.

A middle school in China uses metal detectors to check if students are carrying cell phones.

From NetEase:

A middle school in Hebei uses a metal detector to find and ban student cell phones

Summary: A middle school in Langfang of Hebei province believes that the disadvantages of mobile phones towards student studies exceed their advantages. Beginning a campus “war against cell phones”, [the school] is using metal detectors to find and ban student mobile phones and also does not allow teachers to use cell phones on campus. At the same time, [the school] has invested over 200,000 yuan installing 160 magnetic card pay phones on campus for students to use.

A metal detector used to find cell phones at a middle school in Hebei, China.
Finding and banning mobile phones with the above metal detector.

An excerpt of the full article:

He Shaoqing [the administration director for the school] told this reporter that while carrying out this ban, the school must also be sensitive to avoid conflicts. For students with special physical needs [handicapped students], the school allows them to carry and use mobile phones. To avoid violating rights against illegal search, the school purchased metal detectors normally used by airports and customs. This reporter used the metal detector to conduct a test. Even if the cell phone is turned off, one cannot escape [being detected with a cell phone]. To avoid disputes over property, the school creatively invented a method of “temporary confiscation” that separates the mobile phone from the SIM card: After finding a cell phone, the school will confiscate the mobile phone’s battery and SIM card. The student keeps the rest of the phone, though it is frozen by the school who will notify the parent to bring the cell phone to the school to reclaim the battery and SIM card. The school meticulously printed “cell phone rule violation seal” stickers that must be signed by the teacher, the student, and the parents before being matched together to avoid mistakes [over ownership and reclaiming of property].

A public notice banning cell phones at a middle school in Hebei, China.
A "public order" regarding cell phones issued by a middle school in Langfang.

Another excerpt:

Calling for the development of a “mobile phone for students”

Years ago, America, Finland, and other countries have already legislated laws concerning mobile phones on campuses, strictly forbidding students on campus from using cell phones. Presently, in our country’s primary and secondary schools, whether or not students should be allowed to use mobile phones has already become a hot topic, with many schools in the country have already promulgated banning measures. People involved believe that mobile phones have already become a necessity of life, that banning it for all middle school students would be very difficult and proper guidance would probably be better. He Shaoqing tells this reporter that the school’s current efforts to suppress the use of mobile phones is something they don’t want to do but must be done, that youth using cell phones like this has a deeper social context, that he even wants to develop a type of mobile phone that can make calls and has [GPS] positioning features but cannot go online, listen to music, play games, and other entertainment features, eliminating the bad while keeping the useful, and that this would be suitable for middle school students to use.

A notice banning cell phones on campus at a Hebei, China middle school.
Campus anti-cell phone notice.

Comments from NetEase:


I am a student’s parent, and I support the school!!!!!


Students should focus on their studies and shouldn’t use mobile phones while at school. Those who say it is for convenience, if the other side has turned off their mobile phone, how are you going to contact them? If you bring a cell phone to class, and get a call while in class, doesn’t that affect the class? It should be that the entire country’s schools prohibit students bringing mobile phones to school!


If all we know to do when encountering things that are not good is to forbid them, then in the end all we have is a bunch of holes and nothing will succeed. We must learn to establish sound laws and regulations and supervision/enforcement mechanisms for there to guide the things that are not good with any lasting effect.


I am a parent and I support what the school is doing.

How many high school students these days use mobile phones to communicate with their parents? At best, they are using them to chat, steal crops, playing Land [landlord], and the like. At worst, they are watching movies, playing games, all big wastes of energy.

If it is just a parents enforcing this on a few children, then those children will be very antagonistic, but if this becomes a norm, then the children will find it easier to accept.


First, that a school can issue a ban forbidding and even confiscating the legal property of citizens, who gave them this right? Does the school have the right to search and even confiscate the personal belongings of students? The school knows that search is a violation of rights, but could it not know that confiscation is also a violation of rights? This is a serious legal issue;

Second, was there rigorous surveying and realistic evidence collecting to prove that mobile phones have more disadvantages than advantages for students? The conclusion that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages itself lacks evidence to support it, so is it a valid conclusion or just an arbitrary conclusion of the leadership, is this bureaucratic culture [becoming a law unto oneself]? This is a political issue;

Third, garbage/junk/advertising text messages and pornographic videos aren’t the fault of the students. The problem of telecommunications companies’ measures for protecting their users’ information not being sufficient resulting in garbage text messages is not something only students have, and so on, so should the entire country rise up in a craze to forbid mobile phones and switch to magnetic card pay phones?

Finally, schools may be oriented around academic achievement, but that doesn’t mean everything outside of academic achievement should be abolished. The freedom of communication is founded upon one’s status as a citizen, not one’s status as an adult. Abolishing freedom for academic achievement is an extremely ridiculous bureaucratic way of doing things. It hurts not only the students but all citizens.


Support, students’ responsibility is to study/learn, resting after class. The many functions of mobile phones distract students from studying. It is a tool for communicating with the opposite sex, watching videos, playing games.


Mobile phones are not tracking devices, and should not have positioning capabilities. Middle school students are people too. Using their cell phones to listen to songs they like, playing games they like, relaxing appropriately, what’s wrong with that? Langfang No. 1 Middle School’s actions are completely wrong, seriously violating the lawful rights and interests of the students, and the school leaders and teachers should increase their character and legal education, so such shocking actions will no longer occur!


Who doesn’t want their child to excel, and learn well? But the amount of garbage/trash that society gives children is too much, and the school can only do this much.


Children do not have strong self-control, with many of them using cell phones to go on the internet while in the classroom, reading internet novels/stories, playing games, sending text messages, all affect their studies. Parents can’t do anything about it, so for the school to limit the use of mobile phones during school time is probably without malicious intent. In the past when students didn’t have cell phones, they didn’t have any problems either.


Do you support or oppose the Hebei Langfang middle school action to ban mobile phones from campus?

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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