Cell phones not allowed during class | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Cell phones not allowed during class

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A new regulation regarding limiting or abolishing cell phone use and other electronics at Douglas County schools continues to ring in the ears of officials.

The regulation was revisited at Tuesday’s Douglas County School District Board of Trustees meeting where members discussed cell phone use during lunch, school-sponsored activities and in school vehicles, as well as issues such as text messaging and using picture-taking phones.

Currently cell phones, pager and other electronic devices are banned at schools but not during lunch.

The district was charged with implementing its own policy after a state law was adopted about the use and possession of the devices used on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event.

Assistant Superintendent Roy Casey said the regulation is enforceable during school time, including nutritional breaks and passing time between classes. Lunches are not considered part of the official school day but Casey recommended the board vote to enforce it.

Besides discussion and wanting more input, the board did take action on the matter.

Casey told the board he recommends lunch be included during the banned time.

A new inclusion was that a school administrator or coach can authorize the use of cell phones and other devices during after-school activities, such as a debate team competition, or while riding a bus.

Students can use a cell phone after school.

Trustees were concerned with text messaging — where students can basically send messages to each other’s phones — in regard to cheating. Another concern regarded picture phones, but members were unsure how they can be used.

An idea was floated for teachers to gather phones during assessment testing.

Punishment can include warnings all the way to an expulsion hearing if a student is found repeatedly using a phone during school time. Paw-Wa-Lu Middle School confiscates cell phones and calls a parent to pick up the device.

Kingsbury Middle School Principal Nancy Rollston said phones are not allowed inside or outside the grounds during school time.

“They know they’re not supposed to have them so … it hasn’t been that disruptive,” Rollston said.

Administrators are going to take the discussion to secondary and elementary principals before bringing it back to the board.

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