Dorchester District Two is currently looking into a new policy that gives high school students the OK to use cellphones in schools – and the idea could be introduced to middle schools as well.
During DD2’s board meeting July 14, board members reviewed the first reading of a policy to allow high school students to use their cellphones at specific times during the day. The policy grants students permission to use their cellphones before 7:25 a.m., during class exchanges, during assigned lunch periods and after 2:55 p.m., unless in an after-school class or detention.
Board member Sam Clark, Alston Middle School’s former principal, suggested having Superintendent Joe Pye rally the district’s middle school principals to entertain this idea.
“When I was a middle school principal, parents felt like it was a safety thing,” he said. “Looking from a parent’s standpoint I understand their concerns about safety. So I’d like Mr. Pye to poll the middle school principals to see how they feel about it.”
The new policy comes with a list of rules students must follow, such as headphones and ear buds only being allowed in the cafeteria and the prohibition of making phone calls during transition times. Students also cannot take pictures or video of other people at school unless under supervision, and may not access Internet websites already blocked to students at school.
The consequence of using a cellphone at any time other than the times listed will be having the phone confiscated and returned to a parent for a $25 fee, and repeated offenses could result in suspension, probation and loss of extracurricular activities.
The decision to allow cellphone usage came after the three DD2 high schools took part in a trial run of allowing students to use their phones on campus. In June the principals approached the school board to tell them they thought the trial was well received by parents and students.
The second reading for the policy will occur at the next board meeting July 28.