Dorchester District 2 is a step closer to permanently allowing high schoolers access to cellphones on campus - and the idea may be expanded to middle schools as well.
During DD2's board meeting Monday, board members held the first reading of a policy that will allow high school students to use cellphones at specific times during the day. This policy grants students permission to use their phones prior to 7:25 a.m., during class exchanges, during assigned lunch period and after 2:55 p.m., unless in an after-school class or detention.
Board member Sam Clark, who's Alston Middle School's former principal, suggested having Superintendent Joe Pye rally the district's middle school principals to entertain this idea.
"When I was a middle school principal, parents felt like it was a safety thing," he said. "Looking from a parent's standpoint, I understand their concerns about safety. So I'd like Mr. Pye to poll the middle school principals to see how they feel about it."
The new policy comes with a list of rules students must follow, such as headphones and ear buds only being allowed in the cafeteria and the prohibition of making phone calls during transition times. Students also may not post or capture video, audio or photos of other people at school unless under supervision, and may not access websites already blocked to students at school.
The consequence of using a cellphone at any time other than the times listed will be having the phone confiscated and returned to a parent for a $25 fee, and repeated offenses could result in suspension, probation and loss of extra-curricular activities.
The decision to incorporate a cellphone usage policy came after the three DD2 high schools took part in a trial run of allowing students to use their phones on campus, while following the same before mentioned rules. In June, the principals approached the school board to tell them they felt the trial was well received by parents and students.
The second reading for the policy will occur July 28.