Put the phones down

Members of the Board of Education for Massena Central School District are considering whether to prohibit students from using digital devices such as cellphones during school hours.

A proposed change to the district’s student handbook will reflect this, according to the minutes from a recent meeting of the board’s Policy Committee. The school board will be asked to approve this new policy when it convenes Thursday.

“Changes here include requiring the junior high and high school to clearly spell out acceptable use of personal technology in student handbooks and the code of conduct,” Paul Haggett, chairman of the Board of Education’s Policy Committee, said in a story published Saturday in the Watertown Daily Times. “Basically, teachers and administrators at the junior high and high school are no longer supportive of allowing students to use personal technology like cellphones and that type of thing during the school day, so that will be spelled out in the student code of conduct and student handbook.”

Members of the school board should approve this shift in district policy. There is no reason for students to use their own digital devices while school is in session.

The Policy Committee’s minutes report that the district has just about enough Google Chromebooks for all students. Classroom material that comes from the internet can be viewed on one of these accessories.

The minutes also said that the Communications Committee and views expressed by members of the district faculty strongly support this change of policy. Teachers know they can do their jobs more easily without worrying that students will be distracted by using their cellphones in school.

The district should continue working toward ensuring all students have access to Chromebooks to access pertinent classroom material. But it’s time for school board members to acknowledge that cellphones need to be put aside during the day by putting such a policy into effect.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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