The Maxwell Unified School District is planning to get tough on Middle School students who let cell phone distractions interfere with their schoolwork.
Texting, snap chatting, and other distractions have become so bad that school administrators have asked the school board to adopt a new policy that may require students to turn over their cell phones when they enter the classroom.
“We believe students need to focus on their education,” said Staci deWit, Maxwell Elementary School principal. “A ‘no cell phone’ policy allows for students not only to learn but also to learn self control when it comes to technology.”
Mobile communication devices have become so much a part of people’s daily life that school officials say even young students are showing signs of cell phone addiction.
“If there is a vibration or a beep, anything, then they have to know; they completely lose their train of thought, why they are here, or what they are supposed to be learning because they have to know what is going on behind their pocket,” deWit said.
The school board intends to discuss an electronic device policy at their May 16 meeting.
The policy could require students to turn over their turned-off cell phones to their homeroom teacher at the beginning of the day and pick them up at the end of the day. The district may also look into cell-jails, lock boxes, or even charging stations so students can disengage completely from their mobile devices during the day.
“I believe engaging classrooms have very little use for bored phone usage,” deWit said.
Students currently have the option of turning off their phones and leaving them in their backpacks, but deWit said that some students just can’t seem to resist the urge to use them, including snap chatting in the restroom and on the field.
“They can’t help themselves,” deWit said. “I think they are just addicted.”
If the school board approves an electronic device policy, it would likely take effect at the beginning of the next school year, officials said.
Once adopted, students caught with any mobile communication device, such as a cell phone or I-Watch, on their person would be subject to disciplinary action, Board President Cristy Edwards said. ■