Board considers allowing students to use cell phones

Polic would give OK to devices as academic tool


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By Jessica Lopez
— The Kittatinny Board of Education is considering revising its policy on cellular phones to allow students to use them in the classroom.

Currently, the district does not allow students to use their cellular phones in school, but does allow students to keep them in their locker or on their person so long as they are off and not disrupting the educational environment.

The board discussed the possibility of students being able to use their cellular phones in study hall during its Mar. 13 meeting, though there was debate over whether the students will use their phones as intended or take liberties such as texting friends in class.

“This policy is brand new and opens up the opportunity for the cell phones to be an active academic tool, by looking at its positive uses in the classroom and for instruction,” Superintendent Craig Hutcheson wrote in an email.

A point made at the meeting was that students are using their cellular phones in school with or without the administration’s permission. Students sometimes use their mobile devices in the bathroom, but sometimes right in plain view of staff.

Board members had different views on the a rule change.

Board member Robert Greene questioned the cell phone policy, asking why students would be allowed to use phones in hallways, and said he thought talking on a phone should be allowed, but not texting.

Greene also questioned how the policy would be enforced.

David GaNung compared using a cellular phone to speeding while driving, saying that when a majority of drivers are speeding, the police can only pull over one person at a time.

He said he was concerned that a few students might be disciplined for using their phone inappropriately while a majority will get away with it.

According to the policy, students would be allowed to use cell phones in the classroom under the direction of the teacher for academic reasons only.

“Another policy change is to allow passive use of the cell phone by students in the school during non-academic times," Hutcheson said. "The students may be allowed to use phones so long as they are not contacting students in classrooms.”

Hutcheson said that he considers most students respectful when they are asked to put their cellular phone away.

If a student tries to abuse their cell phone privileges, Hutcheson said that any use of the phones unauthorized during academic time will continue to be a violation of the code of conduct.

“If approved, a pilot program will be developed this year to gage the success of the policy," He said. "Changes and adjustments may need to be made prior to a full policy change in the upcoming year."

The board has not yet made a decision on the possible policy change.

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