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District considers regulating electronics use in schools

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— Faculty and staff in Moffat County schools have tried to regulate students' cell phone use during academic hours.

Moffat County School District officials are planning to follow suit.

At its last meeting, the Moffat County School Board approved the first reading of a policy regulating the use of electronic devices in its schools. During its meeting Feb. 28, the School Board is scheduled to vote on the policy after receiving feedback from the public.

If the board votes to pass the policy, it will go into effect shortly afterward, Assistant Superintendent Joel Sheridan said.

The policy requires that students store all electronic mechanisms, including iPods and cell phones, in lockers and cubbyhole areas during school hours.

During that time, students cannot carry the devices.

"If a student is believed to be carrying/using an unauthorized electronic device during unauthorized times, he/she will be asked to surrender it," the policy states.

Students would be allowed to use their cell phones only during emergency situations, which the district defines as "an actual or eminent threat to public health or safety, which may result in loss of life, injury or property damage," according to the policy.

Consequences for using an electronic device during a non-emergency situation include one-day confiscation and a warning upon first offense.

Further policy violations would require a parent or guardian to retrieve the device. Additional consequences may result.

Exactly what those consequences would be is up to each school, Sheridan said.

Prohibiting the use of electronic devices - especially cell phones - during the school day are matters of privacy, academic integrity and safety, he said.

School District teachers and principals agreed.

"This policy is important for two reasons: to protect the integrity of academic time and to protect our students from the harmful effects that have become a frequent concern," Jane Harmon, Moffat County High School principal, wrote in an e-mail.

The high school already has rules prohibiting cell phone calls and text messaging at school, she said.

Enforcing these rules prevents bullying, cheating on tests and spreading "inappropriate pictures of students" using camera phones, Harmon wrote.

However, the problem of device use in school isn't limited to high school students.

Recently, student cell phone use has become an issue at the elementary and intermediate school levels.

"It has started for us this year big time," East Elementary Principal Diana Cook said, adding that her school staff has confiscated phones from students in first grade and higher.

Some parents give cell phones to their children for safety reasons, she said, but students can use them to call or text message friends during the school day.

Parents occasionally place calls to the students during school hours, she said.

Ken Olinger, Craig Intermediate School dean of students, said some of his students have used cell phones during school hours.

"If I see them, I take them," he said, adding that the school's student handbook prohibits use of these devices during the school day.

Cook said the district's proposed policy provides consistency for schools like East Elementary that have been prohibiting the use of electronic devices before the district's proposed policy was created.

Still, the district's policy may be difficult to enforce as written, Amber Clark, MCHS science teacher, said.

Confiscating a cell phone or iPod that is in use is easy enough, she said, but confiscating those devices when they're in a student's pocket or backpack is a different issue.

"Your eyes can't be everywhere," she said.

Some high school students believe the policy itself is unfair to those who carry, but don't use their cell phones during the school day.

"A majority of kids don't use (their cell phones) much," MCHS sophomore Brodie Schulze said.

"I think you should be able to have (cell phones) with you as long as you're not disturbing others," high school junior Kirsten McAlexander said.

Students' cell phone use is a community-wide issue, said Krista Schenck, high school marketing and business teacher.

"I don't think it's just the kids," she said, adding that some parents call their children during the school day.

For her, it doesn't matter whether the person on the other end is a friend or a parent.

"If it rings, it's enough," she said.

Comments

jjcarver 6 years, 10 months ago

The article regarding the use of electronic devices in school, This is a good concept but it does not appear to go far enough. If the students are not allowed to carry or use the electronic devices I have to ask. Are the students allowed to use the electronic device called a calculator or the electronic device called a computer? Next I have to ask what about the teachers and the school administrators? Are they allowed to carry and use electronic devices during school hours? (This includes cell phones) If the answer is yes then the policy is wrong. What is right for one person should be right for all. Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion. James L. Carver, Class of 1964 Moffat County High School.

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redneckgirl 6 years, 10 months ago

I have a child in CIS and a child in CMS. My older boy does have a cell phone but he does not take it to school. However BOTH my kids have told me numerous times about how their teachers are texting, talking on cells and e-mailing just as much if not more than other students.

My younger son was having a problem in one of his classes and I told him to talk to his teacher about it, he said "I can't, when ever I go to her, she is too busy e-mailing jokes and she even shows us the jokes sometimes". I don't believe the jokes are inappropriate but the fact that the teacher can't help my son with actual school work because she's reading a joke.....really ticks me off. So I also think this rule should apply to faculty & staff.

Along with that procedure-the dress code policy should also be applied. My 8th grade son tells me one of his female teachers has the cleavage of a waitress at hooters. Not that my son has ever been to a hooters, but he is 13 and is not dumb. Please-these are puberty-aged boys! When his friends are at my house, they all talk about the cleavage of this teacher along with her panties hanging out the back of her pants. Yet when my son wore a t-shirt that said "Got Jesus?" on it, he was sent to the office and my husband had to bring him another shirt. Moffat County School District officials/staff/faculty should "PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH!"

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AltitudeAdjustment 6 years, 10 months ago

jjcarver,

If my employees are texting or using the internet inapporpriately at work they are seriously repremended or let go if the problem is a flagrant violation of company policy. Can a teacher have and use a cell phone at work? Absolutely they should have the right and ability. If it begins detracting from their work in anyway they need to be reprimanded for their actions. I visited CMS and some of the teachers were trying too hard to be the nice guy and as a result the students were running the class. About 1/4 of the students were wanting to learn and the rest were running roughshod over the class. No Child Left Behind, as messed up a policy as it is, tries to put accountability on the teachers. If the outcome of my effort at work is poor I get fired. If the outcome of our teachers' efforts are poor we get studid kids. After a teacher gets tenure it is hard to kick them out, no matter how bad of a job they are doing.
Sadly, to many people go into teaching because they only have to work 6 hours a day 7.5 months in a year and our students are the ones who suffer. MORE ACCOUNTABILITY if you please.

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AltitudeAdjustment 6 years, 10 months ago

jjcarver,

I ment to start out my post with "I Agree with you!"

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redneckgirl 6 years, 10 months ago

I also agree that some of the students are challenging and distracting to the teachers and I feel bad for them.

Both my kids are good kids and they try very hard to do well. They struggle yes, but they are average students. It's just the fact that the teacher was too busy doing her e-mail rather than helping my son. She didn't even offer to help him during lunch or recess.

We all have our likes and dislikes about teachers and I know being a proactive parent helps a bunch. I take full advantage of the parent-teacher conferences to voice my opinions with my children.

I also feel that the teachers and coaches alike pick their favorites. Mostly the children of the well known names in the town, other teachers or business owners. That's another story though:.

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George Robertson 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh get a grip! Teachers and Coaches along with everyone else pick their favorites based on who is most delightful to interact with (a good reason to teach your children not to be brats). Could it be that you were replaced by some other kid that was more pleasant to deal with???

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taxslave 6 years, 10 months ago

We need a PTA with teeth. The citizens of Moffat County need to start invading the City Council meetings, the Commissioners meetings, the school board meetings, etc., AND TAKE OVER.

GOVERNMENTS HAVE NO MONEY.....THE ONLY MONEY THEY HAVE IS YOURS/MINE/OURS.

DEMAND YOUR MONEY'S WORTH!!!!

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CindyLou 6 years, 10 months ago

The fact of the matter is too many teachers are texting, instant messaging, emailing, and phoning during class hours. They all justify it as being needed, but we all know in most cases it can wait. I would like to see more teacher accountability. About 1/4 of our teachers are incredible. They care and work hard to make sure our kids get a good education. Half the teachers do just the minimum to not get fired. They are the ones who show up on time and hit the door running when the bell rings. They aren't bad teachers they are more or less warm bodies. The bottome 1/4 should be fired, but we can't for any number of reasons from not being able to find replacements to legal aspects. we teach to the bottom 20% of our classes and wonder why our children don't excell.

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