Fairfax Co. superintendent to create pilot program for storing cellphones throughout college day

Fairfax County Superintendent Michelle Reid is making a pilot program for storing cellphones in school rooms or lockers through the college day.

A cellphone holder hangs in a classroom at Delta High School, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Delta, Utah. At the agricultural Utah college, there’s a strict coverage requiring college students to verify their telephones on the door when coming into each class. Each of the varsity’s 30 or so school rooms has a cellphone storage unit that appears like an over-the-door shoe bag with three dozen smartphone-sized slots. Now faculties in Fairfax County are contemplating one thing comparable. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)(AP/Rick Bowmer)

Fairfax County Superintendent Michelle Reid is making a pilot program for storing cellphones in school rooms or lockers through the college day.

The college board voted Thursday evening to require Reid to develop this system.

In Virginia’s largest college district, center faculties have an “away for the day” cellphone coverage. They can’t be used in any respect, however there may be an exception for tutorial use.

For excessive schoolers, there’s extra discretion. Phones are speculated to be away throughout class time and if a scholar goes to the lavatory. The college district’s cellphone coverage is included in its Student Rights and Responsibilities doc.

However, At-Large School Board Member Kyle McDaniel mentioned enforcement seems to be inconsistent throughout faculties and school rooms.

The plan, which McDaniel mentioned might be offered to the varsity board by the tip of the summer time, comes as educators throughout the nation grapple with forestall the gadgets from turning into a distraction.

Proponents of strict cellphone insurance policies argue college students shouldn’t have entry to telephones through the day so as to maximize their studying. Critics, although, argue that folks ought to have the ability to contact their children through the day, particularly if they’ve security considerations or if the scholar has a job or cares for a sibling.

“We’ve bought to handle this as a result of it’s actually devolved into the Wild West on the market,” McDaniel mentioned. “We can’t have that occurring in Fairfax County and in our faculty system.”

The logistics of the plan are nonetheless unclear, however McDaniel mentioned they’d seemingly be tied to the insurance policies for every grade stage. For center schoolers, there might be centrally positioned cellphone lockers. When college students depart for the day within the afternoon, they’d get their telephones again.

For highschool, the place telephones can be utilized at lunch and within the hallways, “you would need to have some sort of safe storage inside school rooms,” McDaniel mentioned.

Some Fairfax County academics have already taken that strategy, utilizing hanging shoe racks and requiring that college students put their telephones into one of many slots once they enter the classroom.

“Every trainer, along with all of their instructing duties and all of their administrative duties and all their different disciplinary duties, we now throw the added requirement on high of them to implement the cellphone coverage of their classroom,” McDaniel mentioned.

“And we aren’t giving them any centralized steering and even gear to try this.”

Teachers within the county, McDaniel mentioned, appear to be taking completely different approaches. One trainer offers out sweet bars to college students who take out their telephones the least, he mentioned.

“I’ve heard extra about cellphones than I’ve the rest to date this yr,” he mentioned.

There are competing views, McDaniel mentioned, for when telephones must be allowed through the college day.

“There’s all these completely different competing factors of views, and so they’re all legitimate,” McDaniel mentioned. “The saddest one which I’ve heard, fairly frankly, and it’s actually unlucky this even needs to be a consideration — ‘How do I speak to my baby if there’s an energetic shooter in a college?’”

Last month, close by Loudoun County Public Schools mentioned it was searching for dad and mom’ enter on a draft coverage for scholar cellphone use there.

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