A revised policy which prohibits students’ use of cellphones during the school day was approved by the Mansfield City Schools Board of Education Tuesday evening.
The policy governing “personal communication devices” was adopted on a 4-1 vote. Gary Feagin cast the lone opposition vote, saying the policy will be difficult to enforce.
Cellphones are not banned. Students will be allowed to keep their cellphones but are prohibited from having them turned on during the instructional day, except in specific instances when approved by a teacher or administrator. Students may use cellphones before and after school and during other school-related functions.
“Unauthorized cellphone use cannot be allowed to interfere with classroom instruction,” Superintendent Brian Garverick said. “It is important that we inform parents about the policy before school starts. I believe most parents will support it.” Parents can always reach their children when necessary by calling the school office, Garverick said.
Assistant Superintendent Mark Manley, who also is the district personnel director, told the board the revised policy will be communicated to parents during registration next month and through information on the district web site, telephone calls and the district’s automated Leader Alert messaging system.
Specifically, the revised policy says:
“Students may only use personal communication devices (PCDs) before and after school, during after-school activities (e.g., extracurricular activities or at school-related functions. Use of PCDs, except those approved by a teacher or administrator, at any other time is prohibited and they must be powered completely off (i.e., not just placed into vibrate or silent mode) and stored out of sight.”
Feagin expressed concern about enforcement of the revised policy. “I favor it but I think it will be difficult to enforce. I am concerned about the time out of the day that will be needed to enforce it,” he said. “It will be important that principals make it clear to every teacher at every grade level so the policy will be consistent.”
Chris Elswick, Renda Cline, Sheryl Weber and Judy Forney voted in favor of the revised policy.