A modest proposal for a digital world…

Each day, at any given moment across American High Schools, students sneak a text on their cellular devices. They hide their phones in pockets, under their thighs, inside their bras, and along the tops of their book bags. I am a teacher, and, as entertaining as I like to think I am in my classroom, I cannot compete with the allure of these devices. I have spent hours pondering the possible ways to thwart the sneaky methods of in-class texting, and I have finally hit pay dirt!  I have the foolproof solution to the problem of cell phones; I just need medical backing and an educational referendum.

My plan will allow teachers of cellphone-aged children to ensure that cell phones are “up” at a glance. By “up”, I mean that cell phones, under my simple plan, will find a natural resting spot on the tops of the heads of students. Indeed, a teacher will be able to look out to her attentive pupils and see them sitting upright, eager to learn, their cell phones resting comfortably atop their craniums.

Now, my eventual plan does require the reshaping of the human skull, and it must begin with the current newborns. We must mold the very skulls of infants, when they are most pliable. Doctors can easily create this “mold” using any available rectangular block. Actually, a small book would be best, since no one reads them anymore- it would be a great way to use up these antiquated dust collectors. Using the book, the doctor, who would certainly be adequately trained, would only need to press for a matter of minutes, and the indention would be set. Parents would then take the book with them, upon leaving the hospital with their new babes, and continue “book press therapy” throughout the child’s first year, to ensure that the bones set correctly. Parents will undoubtedly pack these books away with other sentimental baby items- first cups, bibs, and locks of hair.

Once a child hits the age of 7,  which I render the age at which most children will have their first cell phones, his or her skull indention would be mature enough to house a phone. It will be imperative that students sit still while resting their cell phones on their indented heads, so as not to wiggle and have the cell phones fall to the floor. Obviously, this would be distracting and costly to families. The necessity of stillness in elementary schools, so not to “tip” the cell phones,  will do away with the need for classes that require movement, which will, in turn, save money in district budgets.

For the kids who are too old for the infantile head reshaping, schools will need to provide each student with my patent-pending “Cell Phone Cap”, which shall be worn by all students, every day. This cap will be fashioned after a painter’s cap and made from the cheapest burlap, so as not to infringe on local budgets or anger governors who try their best to adequately pay teachers. The caps will have a Velcro belt system at the top, so students may easily secure their cell phones. These caps can be made in China for under $2.00 each, which will only be necessary until the book-pressed infants matriculate into the schools; upon which time manufacturing of the hats may cease.

Any educator will agree that this cell phone plan is truly the only solution to the digital disease inflicting our schools. It will ensure that students pay attention to their teachers, rather than their devices.  They will sit still, face forward, and be completely engaged. I’ve already spoken to a doctor who is excited about it, especially considering there is little to no pain involved. I have a more detailed proposal ready to present at the next area board meeting.  I hope that my caps will be in every school before the 2016 class graduates.



I have no idea if they will publish my letter, but here is the LETTER TO THE EDITOR that I just sent off to the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the disturbing and utterly insensitive political cartoon that appeared in the Sunday,October 4 issue. The cartoon showed a weather man standing in front of a weather map. The U.S. map showed random smiley sunshine faces, and machine guns appeared in the regions of the recent mass shootings. The caption was truly unthinkable: a reference to the weather being mostly sunny with a chance of mass shootings.

As a veteran journalism and English teacher, and a freelance journalist, I am completely blown away that any journalist would be heartless enough to treat this grave matter with sheer flippancy.

After 9/11, one political cartoonist captured an image of the Statue of Liberty with a tear in her eye. This noted piece was reflective of America’s sadness, America’s despair. This was an image that spoke for the heartbroken millions. This cartoon proved that there is a time and a place for sarcasm; during a time of devastation, we need only compassion.

As the country hears of these devastating mass shootings, no one is smiling. The smiling sunshine faces from Sunday’s cartoon should, at the very least, not be grinning. They should be weeping for these innocent lives that have been taken away.

I am gravely disappointed in the editor’s decision to run this cartoon. It is untimely, insensitive, and shows a complete lack of humanity.


Heidi Campbell

Here is a copy of said cartoon:

bad political cartoon GDP