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Troy School Board considers options on cell phone policy

by Western News
| October 22, 2009 12:00 AM

The Troy School Board is considering a new cell phone policy that would give the principal more flexibility and would recognize the multiple ways the devices are used.

The proposed cell phone policy will be on November’s meeting agenda after being tabled at last week’s meeting.

The district’s current policy was adopted in December last year. It forbids students to use cell phones on campus at any time unless a school principal or other administrator grants permission to the individual student. The policy instructs administrators to only grant permission to use a cell phone if it is necessary to the student’s safety.

The proposed policy will give the principal power to decide when it is and isn’t appropriate for students to use cell phones.

Troy High School teacher Jeff Ralston proposed the new policy because he feels that the current one is too strict. If he allows students to use their phones on campus outside of the classroom, he believes they may learn to use them in a way that doesn’t disrupt the learning process.

“It’s a new technology and kids are using it all the time,” Ralston said. “If we can control it so it’s not disrupting class, there’s no reason not to allow them to.”

If the board hands the authority to principals, Ralston said he could implement one policy and if it doesn’t work, change the policy without having to go through board approval.

The proposed policy is also more in-depth, recognizing that cell phones now have photo taking and video recording capabilities. It forbids operating a cell phone anywhere that may violate privacy, such as locker rooms and restrooms, or anywhere that may interfere with the instructional process. It also states that all electronic devices, including cell phones, are subject to be searched if it is suspected that school policies have been violated.

Other actions at last week’s meeting:

• The board approved John Bower as the junior varsity boys basketball coach, Courtney Fisher as the junior high girls basketball coach, and Tony Smith and Cliff Bara as fall drama coaches. 

• Maria Nicholl was approved to fill a part-time elementary school aide position.

• The board approved a new social studies curriculum.