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Dis­tricts have poli­cies gov­ern­ing cell phone use

The Compass - - SPORTS - DANETTE DOOLEY

While par­ents are busy pre­par­ing their chil­dren for school, one thing stu­dents will have to leave at home or tucked away in their locker are cells phones and other hand-held elec­tronic de­vices.

School dis­tricts have mea­sures in place to help stu­dents learn with­out dis­trac­tion.

New­found­land and Labrador Fed­er­a­tion of School Coun­cils (NLFSC) pres­i­dent Ruby Hoskins says each district has guide­lines in place for schools to de­velop their own pol­icy on the use of hand-held technology.

“ This is an in­di­vid­ual school pol­icy that is de­vel­oped with the spe­cific needs and con­cerns in mind for each school,” Hoskins says.

Al­though many are sim­i­lar, Hoskins says, each school de­vel­ops poli­cies with in­put from the school coun­cils and the pol­icy is de­signed to cus­tom fit each school.

“These poli­cies must also ad­here to the guide­lines put in place by the district boards,” Hoskins says.

Heather Hil­lier is se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer with the Gan­der-based Nova Cen­tral School District.

The district de­vel­oped a pol­icy last year with re­spect to cell phone use by stu­dents.

Schools are per­mit­ted to de­velop their own poli­cies, in line with the district pol­icy, Hil­lier said, re­it­er­at­ing Hoskins’ com­ments.

“The mat­ter of cell phones and other por­ta­ble de­vices are more of a con­cern in some schools than in oth­ers,” Hil­lier noted.

Nova Cen­tral School District’s pol­icy is sim­i­lar to that of other dis­tricts.

It stip­u­lates cell phones, pagers and other elec­tronic de­vices shall be re­quired to be turned off and kept out of sight dur­ing in­struc­tional time.

The pol­icy also states por­ta­ble elec­tronic de­vices shall not be per­mit­ted in rooms where ex­ams are be­ing writ­ten.

Cam­era func­tions on cell phones are also not per­mit­ted to be used on school grounds or school busses.

The pol­icy states ex­cep­tions to the pol­icy may be made “with the ex­plicit per­mis­sion of the school ad­min­is­tra­tor or his/her des­ig­nate.”

Mary Tucker, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager with the East­ern School District, says the is­sue of cell phones and other hand-held elec­tronic de­vices falls un­der the district’s Safe and Car­ing schools ini­tia­tives.

“Schools in the East­ern School District have school-based poli­cies as part of their code of con­duct. Cell phones in class are con­sid­ered to be dis­re­spect­ful and dis­rup­tive to the learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” Tucker says.

Ac­cord­ing to the poli­cies posted on var­i­ous school web­sites through­out the prov­ince, in many schools stu­dents who do not ad­here to the pol­icy face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

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