School to col­lect stu­dent phones

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Saja Hindi

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.

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