LIMA — School officials want to make sure students are focused on learning and not distracted by the use of cell phones during the school day.
Lima Senior High School will enact a cell phone policy effective Friday, Oct. 18 that prohibits students from using mobile phones in the classroom, said Jill Ackerman, Lima schools superintendent.
“Students have a little more freedom on cell phone usage during lunch and in the hallways during passing periods but will not be allowed to use cell phones in the classroom,” Ackerman said.
She said previously the cell phone usage in the classroom was at the teacher’s discretion. Students could listen to music on their cell phone if they got their work done. Ackerman said this caused an inconsistency, and there needed to be an across-the-board policy for cell phones implemented.
“I think the students will be more focused, and it also cuts down on issues that can happen such as social media, texting and things that have no place in an instructional classroom,” Ackerman said.
In August, the Ottawa-Glandorf school board approved a new policy on electronic devices, cell phones and ear buds, said Ann Ellerbrock, O-G High School principal. The policy is for all students, including those at Ottawa and Glandorf elementary schools.
The policy states student cell phones and other electronic devices, including iPads, must remain in the car or locker during the school day. The first offense is student pickup of the phone at the end of the day in the principal’s office. The second offense includes detention and parent pickup of the phone. The third offense is Saturday detention and parent pickup of the phone. Students receive a claim ticket that teachers give to the principal when the policy is broken by a student.
She has only had to use the claim ticket two times since the policy was implemented. She also said social skills during the lunch hour have improved, with students not having their phones out at lunchtime.
Ellerbrock conducted research on what other schools were doing with cell phone policies. Before the policy, students were allowed to use their cell phones at the teacher’s discretion. There were red zones during tests, when cell phones were required to be put away.
“Research shows that cell phones are distracting in the classroom. Once we went to the one-to-one initiative seven years ago with the iPad, the need for the students to have the cell phone diminished in terms of needing to use it to research things,” Ellerbrock said.
Jesse Kill, Perry High School’s principal, said students are not allowed to have cell phones during the 40-minute academic classes. They can check their phones during the three-minute passing period and at lunch and breakfast.
“Cell phones are a major part of teenager’s and adult’s lives, and we want to teach them responsible use,” Kill said. Parents at an open house were notified and with the code of conduct that was sent home.
Kill said the purpose of the policy is to teach responsible cell phone use and to learn to use it at appropriate times.
Students who disobey the policy will have their cell phone confiscated and a parent/guardian has to come and pick it up from the office.
Shawnee High School’s cell phone policy, first enacted in 2006, allowed cell phones, but that has been amended over time to its current state.
The policy says electronic devices must be in silent mode while on school campuses and kept out of sight from 7:35 a.m. to 2:36 p.m.
“The policy became necessary when the actions and attention of students were contrary to a positive learning environment. The steps taken were done so to allow for teaching and learning to occur,” said James Kanable, Shawnee’s superintendent.
Elida High School’s cell phone policy changed at the beginning of the 2018 school year in response to an increase in problems seen by previously permitting use. A committee of teachers were involved in creating and implementing the new policy.
The new policy states students are allowed to use cell phones and other portable electronic devices in the building before school until the bell rings at 7:40 a.m., following school after the bell rings at 2:35 p.m and during their lunch periods, only while in the cafeteria commons area.
Cell phone usage during the school day have caused local schools concern for students to be distracted from the learning process, said Darren Sharp, Elida High School’s principal.
“The policy is important to maintain a proper learning environment,” Sharp said.
The high school has phones in every classroom in case of emergency.
Students and parents were notified recently of Lima’s new policy via social media and also received a letter.
Feedback from parents has been positive, Ackerman said. She said parents have said they want their students to be focused in class.
If students need to access a phone during an emergency, there are phones in every classroom that can be used to make needed outside calls.
Students who do not abide by the cell phone policy will be sent home, Ackerman said.
Students can carry the cell phones that are turned off in their backpacks and pockets, but they’re prohibited from using the phones during class time.
Middle school and elementary school students in the district are not allowed to have cell phones on their person at all during the day.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.