Students in the Clinton public schools could soon be barred from using cell phones and other portable electronic devices at school during the school day. Students in Clinton have been allowed to use cell phones, mp3 players and iPods before and after school and during lunch.
Clinton High School principal Karinne Tharaldson is taking her concerns to the school board. “It is very difficult to enforce a policy that is half-way enforceable. What I mean by that is you’re allowing students to have cell phones before school, at lunch and after school and we’re supposed to enforce it differently at different times during the day,” she says. “That’s really hard to do.”
Cell phones can not only be used to make calls but to send text messages, and it’s that kind of clandestine use that can be disruptive in the classroom setting. “I’m not naive enough to believe that we’re ever doing to ban (cell phones) completely, but I certainly would like for us to have a policy that from the time they arrive at Clinton High School and the time they leave that (the cell phone) is in their locker,” Tharaldson says.
Tharaldson’s not sure who students are communicating with, but she is sure cell phone use distracts students from their academics. The Clinton School Board is considering a new policy that would allow students to bring cell phones to school, but they could not be activated during the school day.
Tharaldson estimates about 75 percent of Clinton High School students have a cell phone. “There are concerns about how they are using those,” she says. Tharaldson has caught kids using the camera on their cell phone to snap pictures of tests, and then peddling those pictures to other students who’ll take the same exam later. Superintendent Dr. Randy Clegg suspects students are text-messaging test questions and answers to one another during exams.
The ban on in-school cell phone use would apply to kindergarten through 12th grade students in Clinton. The school board will consider adopting the policy at its June meeting.