Districts have policies governing cell phone use
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.