Cell rules may ease in schools

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 17, 2004

[6/17/04]Cell phones would no longer be banned in public schools here under a policy that may get a school board vote in July. There would, however, be stiffer punishment for breaking usage rules.

“The bottom line is that students are going to bring cell phones to school, and we might as well regulate them,” said Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent James Price.

The district’s two high school principals have said that most of their students take phones to school and the policy recognizes the trend.

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“Cell phones will be allowed to be there as long as you don’t see them, hear them or feel them,” Price said.

Additionally, school administrators will not handle matters of cell phones that are stolen, borrowed, or misplaced.

Under the proposed changes, phones cannot be used during school hours, must be turned off and must remain concealed inside a book bag or purse.

Consequences include:

School officials confiscating the phone, and the student’s parent or legal guardian must pick up the phone from school officials the first time the rule is broken.

The second time the rule is violated, the student will be given in-school detention and the phone will be confiscated. Parents must pick up the phone.

The student will be suspended on the third offense and the phone will be confiscated.

If a student is caught using a phone on school property during school hours the punishment is a bit more stiff. Students will receive in-school detention for the first time and the second time the student will be suspended.

Currently, the VWSD’s policy states that the first time a student is found in possession of an electric device, the item is collected, and a parent is asked to pick up the item from school officials. The second time, the item is kept until the end of the semester.

Price said parents often encourage their children to carry a phone for safety reasons.

“Parents like to know where their children are,” Price said. “And it’s ludicrous for us to think we can thwart that kind of technology.”

The matter will be on the agenda for trustees next month, Price said.