2012-04-12 / News
Goodrich High School to test new cell phone policy
GOODRICH — Technology has been making its way into classrooms in recent years and this April it will be making an appearance outside the classrooms at Goodrich High School as well with a new cell phone pilot policy.
Last month, the Board of Education approved in a 6-1 vote a trial run of a new cell phone policy that allows students to use their cell phones during designated times throughout the day. The pilot begins April 16.
The current policy in place bans the use of cell phones stating they must be kept off and out of sight. The pilot policy however, Interim Principal Stephanie O’Dea said, is a way for the school wanted to reward its students good behavior and give them more freedom by allowing them to have their cell phones out and in use before and after school, during passing times and in the cafeteria.
“To me, it is acknowledging our students live in a technologically advanced society,” O’Dea said. “As it is, they use their phones continually when they are outside of school. This policy is giving them an appropriate time and appropriate venue to use them (at school).”
Trustee Chip Schultz voted against implementing the pilot policy for the fourth marking period stating he did not understand the need for a new policy.
“There is no need for phones in high school,” Schultz said. “The office has a direct number. If students need to call home in an emergency, they can go to the office.”
Furthermore, Schultz said he can support the use of technological devises in the classroom for educational purposes, but feels the proposed new cell phone policy will be disruptive to student learning. “If you are going to use it to text because you want to know what your best friend is doing for lunch that day or your mom wants you to pick up a gallon of milk on your way home from school while you are supposed to be learning, I am against it,” Schultz said. “They should not be texting you in the middle of the day.”
Secretary Doug Tetmeyer said he agrees with Schultz, but was willing to give the policy a chance as long as the discipline actions are carried out for those that violate the policy.
“I really want some insurance that these (discipline actions) will actually be enforced,” Tetmeyer said. “It is very easy to overlook for convenience sake.”
While neighboring schools reported reduced violations after implementing similar cell phone policies, O’Dea said in the AP Literature and AP Language classes. We are trying to incorporate more pieces of technology in school and teach students how to use them educationally.”
Treasurer David Cramer said while he was initially against the policy, he now sees its potential to teach students.
“If we start to teach them a responsible way to use them now, I see some value in that. If teachers use technology to help the learning process, I see some value in that,” Cramer said.
The high school and board will monitor the number of cell phone violations made in the last marking period of the school before deciding if they wish to continue the policy for another school year.
Superintendent John Fazer said he understands the skepticism from some of the board, but does not anticipate the policy causing any problems. Instead, he said the policy is a step in the right direction to keep up with technology.
“When I was teaching, I remember I had to punish a kid for taking out his calculator to solve a problem,” Fazer said. “Times change.”
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