School to collect student phones
Students at Denver Discovery School will not have access to their cellphones during the upcoming Denver teachers strike, according to an email shared by a parent.
The email says, “Please do not bring backpacks, binders or anything of value,” and warns that students will not have access to their lockers during the strike. Also, it says school officials will collect cellphones at the beginning of the day and return them at the end of the day “so that students don’t have to worry about loosing (sic) them.”
Denver Discovery School, a middle school located at 3480 Syracuse St., also posted the message to its Facebook page, which a parent took a screenshot of and shared before it was removed from the school’s page.
“Are they going to school or jail?” asked JoyAnn Ruscha, a parent of an eighthgrade student at Denver Discovery School.
She said she feels like the latest move is an attempt to make students resent their teachers.
“What do you mean, ‘No binders allowed’? So my son can’t bring his Honors Algebra notes to school?” Ruscha asked. “My son has dyslexia — this is only going to induce anxiety. Taking away cellphones and putting them in bags? This feels like a punitive punishment directed at our kids.”
Ruscha added that many of the older kids at the school take RTD buses, so she doesn’t understand how they can leave their backpacks at home.
Denver Public Schools spokeswoman Anna Alejo said each school has its own policies, and “school leaders have the authority to decide what is in their students’ best interest.”
According to Alejo, Principal Pam Kirk made the decision because the school’s policy is for students to keep their cellphones in their lockers. But because the school will have fewer teachers than normal, “the principal is looking into how best to serve all of the students.”
One of the options is that students will only have classes on the first floor, so students who have lockers on the second floor won’t be able to follow the regular policy, according to Alejo. The principal made this decision to avoid confusion related to which students have cellphones in their lockers and which students have cellphones in their backpacks, she said.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association and Denver Public Schools’ most recent attempt at contract negotiations on Saturday failed, and the union is planning to kick off its picketing at schools on Monday morning.