With a new school year underway, I would like to take a moment to reiterate our district’s policy and expectations regarding student cell phone use during school hours.
In the past few years, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of mobile devices by students at all grade levels. The use of personal devices in and out of class has made it increasingly difficult to keep students engaged and focused on important curricular activities during the school day.
During this same time, we have also experienced a substantial increase in the number and frequency of incidents of cyber-bullying and student discipline associated with cell phone usage. Teachers are struggling to manage the number of students who are texting, taking phone calls, and using various apps such as SnapChat and Tik-Tok while sitting in class or at other times during the day.
The district’s stated policy is that students who possess a personal wireless device at school must keep that device turned off/silent AND out of sight between classes and during class time. No student is permitted to access his/her personal wireless device during class time without teacher permission. This policy applies to AirPods, headphones, watches, and other audio devices at school. Students may use their personal wireless devices during lunch, before school, after school and at school activities unless prohibited by school officials.
Admittedly, these guidelines have not been consistently enforced throughout our district over the past few years. Often, this was due to teachers allowing students to use their phones for class-related learning activities. However, with all students having access to a chromebook, students no longer have a direct need to use a cell phone for these activities.
As a result, we are asking our teachers to adhere to the established policy and consistently enforce cell phone guidelines in their classrooms. Students are not being asked to leave their cell phones in their lockers or turn them in when they come to class. They simply need to keep them off and out of sight.
We hope you appreciate the intent behind these guidelines. Better control of student cell phone usage at school will result in higher levels of engagement and fewer disruptions to the learning environment. We will be addressing our expectations with students on the first day of school and encourage you to speak with your children about these guidelines as well.