School district releases new cellphone policy: No devices in class

The Perry School Board voted unanimously Monday to approve a new district-wide policy on cell phone use in the classroom.

The Perry Community School District Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously approved a new district-wide policy on cell phone use in the classroom. Under the new rules, students of all grades will return their phones when entering the classroom and collect them when leaving.

Students will still be able to use their phones freely between classes and during lunchtime. The policy will be applied daily from 7:55 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

According to the policy, cellphones and smartwatches have become “a major distraction to the learning environment” in middle and high school “in recent years.” The administrators made the same point to the school board.

“I think the kids are, some of them are downright addicted to their cellphones,” Perry Middle School principal Ned Menke said. “It not only hinders their learning in school, but probably affects every aspect of their life, and we need to do something about it as a school district to recognize a problem and also to help people understand that you don’t. have to have a phone on you all the time.

Perry High School principal Dan Marburger echoed Menke’s view of students’ addiction and overreliance on their gadgets.

“They’ve been a real problem for us,” Marburger told the school board. “We anticipate that this policy will be difficult at all levels. Children are used to having them. They are used to looking at them. I would say – there is no science to this, but I would say 80% of the text messages they get today are from mom and dad. We’re going to have to, you know, go back to the way we used to do things.

It used to be that a parent wishing to communicate with their child would call the school’s main office and the message would be passed on to the child from there. PCSD Superintendent Clark Wicks said he hopes the new policy will improve the learning environment.

“What this policy does is it gives administrators and teachers great support if approved by the board,” Wicks said. “He says we are serious about it. Then we have to, as a team of not just administrators, but as a school, accept that this is going to help students and help them learn. And I think it will help teachers to teach.

The administration was equally supportive.

“I feel like we needed a bit of a stronger policy and we need to be more consistent across teachers on how we handle cellphones,” Marburger said. “It will give us that.”

“I think this policy is necessary,” Menke said. “We realize that we will have to do some upstream training for students in particular, but I think that’s an effort that we need to tackle.”

PCSD School Board President Linda Andorf, a retired teacher who still serves in the Perry school system, said the policy will need to be applied consistently.

“App consistency is going to be very crucial because there are classrooms where it’s been okay for phones to be taken out and used,” Andorf said. “If we say, ‘You’re not going to get them’, we need to make sure everyone follows it, because there’s no point in having a policy if we don’t enforce it.”

Penalties for violating the policy gradually increase, with the phone confiscated and parents possibly notified. PCSD school board principal Travis Landgrebe said it might be best to involve parents early on when there are issues.

“I think parents should really be involved from the start,” Landgrebe said, “but we need a policy, and it’s a start.”

The new policy can also be viewed on the school district website.

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