Ask an Official: MAPS Superintendent discusses student cell phone policy
This week’s featured question was submitted for Merrill Area Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Sample
The question reads:
“There has been recent discussion of students and cell phones in the classroom. Does MAPS have a policy on students having cell phones in the classroom? If not is use of a cell phone in class allowed for internet or messaging?”
Answer as given by Dr. Sample:
“MAPS does have a policy regarding cell phone usage. The policy, Personal Communication Devices – Board Policy 5136, is available on our website and is also referenced in the middle school and high school student handbooks. Here is some of the key language of that policy by both buildings:
“PRMS – Students are responsible for the care of their personal devices and the district takes no responsibility for the loss or damage of these items. In addition, if these types of items become a problem, they will be confiscated and returned to a parent.
Cell phones will be allowed in the hallways before and after school and during lunch in the cafeteria provided they do not become disruptive to the educational setting. Cell phones will not be allowed in classrooms. Therefore, it is expected that phones will be off and in the student locker during class times. Staff members will confiscate cell phones in situations where they cause a disruption. On the first instance only, the student may reclaim a confiscated phone at the end of the day. Future instances of this behavior will be considered insubordination. The cell phone will be confiscated and parents will be contacted to recover the item and develop a plan to avoid this behavior in the future.
Note: This year, the Sixth Graders are experiencing a new procedure involving cell phones being collected at the beginning of the day and then returned at the end of the day. This procedure began at the beginning of the school year and has had favorable results. This results in sixth graders not having phones during lunch and it has cut down on teachers having to enforce it during the day and has reduced the drama during lunch. PRMS staff has also implemented a few “no tech” Fridays with their seventh and eighth graders during lunch times and the students have been supportive.”
“MHS – Cell phones (to include any personal wireless technological devices) will be allowed in the commons and hallways provided they do not become disruptive to the educational setting.
“Classrooms and Study Areas will be marked with signs that indicate cell phone use rules for that area.
“RED = No Phone Use Allowed
“YELLOW = Students should use caution. Use is limited and at teacher discretion.
“GREEN = Cell Phone use is permitted.
“First Offense: Students will turn phones into staff or office and will be released to students at the end of the day after parents have been notified.
“Second Offense: Students will turn phone into staff or office and phone will remain in the office for three school days (including overnight). Parents will be contacted. The phone will NOT be kept over the weekend but must be returned to school on the next scheduled school day until the three day confiscation is completed. Following the three day confiscation the phone will be given to parents or the student upon parent(s) request.
“Third Offense: Students will turn in phone to staff or the office. Parents will be contacted and phone will be only given to parents. At that time students and parents will acknowledge the infraction by signing an agreement that the student will no longer be allowed the use of a cell phone in school during the normal school day (7:50 a.m.-3 p.m.). If the student violates this agreement the phone will be turned in to the office and kept in a secure location until the conclusion of the school year.
“*Any other phone used by student in lieu of the confiscated phone will also be turned in and kept by the school until the end of the school year. Parents will be notified.
*Refusal to turn phone over to staff or the office will result in the student being assigned a suspension.
Personal Electronic Devices
“Students are NOT allowed to use any personal electronic device (to include iWatch and similar devices) in class or resources without the explicit permission of the supervising staff member.
“Cell phones should NOT be used for entertainment (i.e. music, games…) in class. Personal electronic devices such as iPods, are to be used for music only. Students who choose to break this rule will be subject to the same penalties associated with the cell phone violation.
“I appreciate your question as we focus on maximizing our learning environments in all buildings. We also appreciate the support we receive from our parents in reinforcing the student handbooks we have established.”
Have a question or concern you would like to address? Simply send your question or concern to email@example.com along with an indication of which entity your question or concern pertains to. Current participants are the Merrill Police Department, Merrill Fire Department, Tomahawk Police Department, Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson, Lincoln County Administrative Coordinator Jason Hake, Merrill Area Housing Authority Director Paul Russell, Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe, Lincoln county Forestry, Land and Parks Director Kevin Kleinschmidt, local DNR Conservation Warden Curt Butler and Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) Superintendent Dr. John Sample. Please note: Those who submit to the ‘Ask an Official’ feature remain anonymous.