Cell phone use in schools a no-no next year

Beginning next school year, the use of cell phones during the instructional day will be prohibited in county schools.

The Pulaski County School Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve changes to the Standards of Student Conduct pertaining to communication devices.

The new policy says students may possess a cellular telephone, smart phone, tablet, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or other communication device on school property – including school buses.

While students may possess the devices, they must remain “off and out of sight from the time the student arrives at school until the end of the instructional day.”

The current policy allows for phones to be used “for instructional purposes at the direction of the student’s teacher.”

Violation of the new policy will result in the device being confiscated and returned only to the student’s parent.

School Superintendent Kevin Siers said confiscation of the phone would be the school system’s initial response for a violation of the policy, while further violations would bring additional disciplinary actions such as time in detention, lunch detention or in-school suspension.

At the prompting of Robinson District board member Beckie Cox, the new policy will also include the use of smart watches.

However, it will not include beepers.

“None of the students knew what they were,” Siers noted.

Attendance Zone Changed

Beginning next school year, most students living in the southern half of the county will be required to attend Snowville Elementary School, following approval Tuesday night of an attendance zone change.

Siers noted that discussions have been ongoing for several months on options for alleviating the overcrowding at Pulaski Elementary School.

He said the option found to be most feasible was to take Pulaski Elementary Attendance Zone 2 (in the Draper area) and make it a part of the Snowville Elementary Attendance Zone.

Siers said the change would affect between 60 and 70 students.

He said a plan is in place to allow fifth grade students to remain at PES next year and be transported to school as well as any younger siblings they may have.

Following that, Siers said, parents of any students in the current PES Zone 2 wishing to remain at Pulaski Elementary would be required to apply for an out-of-zone placement.

By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot