07/15/09 — Schools: Keep cell phones, iPods off

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Schools: Keep cell phones, iPods off

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 15, 2009 1:46 PM

Take a cell phone to school this fall and turn it on, and it could cost you, the Wayne County Board of Education decided Monday.

The board approved a policy outlining authorized and unauthorized use of wireless communication devices on school property.

Basically, students are allowed to be in possession of cell phones, pagers, two-way radios, CD/MP3 players and electronic games.

The problem will be remembering to turn them off during school.

According to the policy, when the device is visibly "turned on, used, displayed or visible," it may be confiscated.

Devices are permitted on the ride to and from school, but are prohibited from the time of arrival at school until dismissal. Parents who need to reach their child during the school day are advised to call the school's main office rather than rely on use of the child's cell phone, the policy states.

The consequences are simple. The policy states that "school employees may immediately confiscate any wireless communication device that is visibly turned on, used, displayed or visible in violation of this policy." Unless there are "compelling and unusual circumstances," however, the item will only be returned to the parent or guardian.

Consequences, as spelled out in Policy 4318A, are boiled down as follows:

* First offense: Device will be confiscated and returned to parent/guardian following a conference with the school administration. The student will be subjected to out-of-school suspension until the parent conference.

* Second offense: Device will be confiscated and returned to the parent/guardian only at the end of the current school semester. A parent conference will be held and the student will be suspended for one day.

* Third or subsequent offenses: Device will be confiscated and returned only to parent/guardian only at the end of the current school year. The student will be subject to out-of-school suspension for three days, and a parent conference with administration.

More stringent disciplinary action is also possible, the policy states, particularly in cases of taking or showing illicit photographs, reproducing images of tests or to access unauthorized school information or taking photos or videos of fights, bullying, etc. and uploading them to social networking sites such as YouTube.

The new policy was approved without discussion by the board Monday night.

It had originally been on the agenda for the June meeting but was withdrawn pending further research.

Marvin McCoy, assistant superintendent for human resource services, said its introduction was in compliance with regulations outlined by the state Board of Education.

Dr. Steven Taylor, schools superintendent, said the policy needed board approval to be included in time for printing district school handbooks.