Students in the Montesano School District will now be able to use their cell phones during class after the Montesano School Board passed a Students and Telecommunication Devices policy during a meeting on June 26.
District Superintendent Dan Winter said with so many students owning smart phones, the new policy was a chance to open up an opportunity to use the phones in a positive manner.
“Everybody has one and there are ways that we can use them with students as tools in the classroom rather than making them seem taboo,” Winter said in an interview with The Vidette. “There are some problems that go along with that, but we are hoping they will be used for good and not evil.”
The new policy lays out seven different conditions that students must follow in using the devices in the classroom including not using the device in a way that poses a threat to academic integrity, not sending sexually explicit material and the student will be responsible for the loss or destruction of the device. The policy states in two of the conditions that school officials have the right to confiscate the phone if it is believed to be used in a manner that violates the policy, and the final two conditions state that students will comply with any additional rules developed by the school and students will be subject to disciplinary action such as suspension or expulsion for violating the policy.
The motion to adopt the policy passed unanimously.
Board member Steve Poler said he had talked to some teachers after the first reading of the policy at the previous board meeting and said he had heard very little negative feedback.
Board member Dick Stone mentioned that teachers who would not want the use of the devices in the classroom would still be able to adopt a policy in that classroom that would not allow cell phones.
“(Condition) F says students will comply with any additional rules,” Stone said. “So, we are developing an overall policy so it is OK except when somebody says it is not.”
Winter said while there is a stigma still around the use of cell phones that there are many positive ways the devices can be used.
“There are programs that will take surveys and you will text a response,” Winter said of just one of the ways a cell phone could be used in the classroom. “I just think there are a lot of really positive ways to use them as long as we are all vigilant in making sure the bad ways are not exploited.”