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BVHS piloting cell phone use during school day
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

September 10. 2013 12:40PM
It’s just the second week of the 2013-14 school year, and already, students at Brandon Valley High School are being tested.

BVHS Principal Gregg Talcott informed the board Aug. 26 of a cell phone use pilot program that’s underway at the high school. Cell phone use during the school day – by both students and staff – was banned by administrators sometime in the last decade. But administrators are now giving students the opportunity to use them during their four-minute class exchanges. If all goes well, cell phone use could be allowed during the student’s lunch break.

“We know that some of our colleagues at some other schools are doing something similar,” Talcott said, was one reason behind the pilot program.

Over the course of eight days in the first two weeks of school, students were given the opportunity to use their cell phones during the four-minute passing time between classes. If there are no more than five violations in the eight-day time frame, Talcott said students would be allowed to use their cell phones between classes through the first semester. If student cell phone use goes well, Talcott said administrators would consider it for the second semester.

“We’re in the process – it may be a short process,” he said. “As of today (Aug. 26) we’ve had three violations in four days.”

Shortly before 8 a.m. Friday, the violations were at four.

Under the no cell phone use policy, Talcott said there were daily student violations.

“Some break the rules and get caught, and some break the rules and don’t get caught,” he said. “If they can learn to use it responsibly, that’s all we really care about.”

Sophomore Morgan Lindemann said that as a freshman, she didn’t use her cell phone much at all.

“I really wasn’t affected by it (no cell phone use) too much because I didn’t use it a lot,” she said. “But when I did need it, like if I had to ask a parent or to figure out something at the end of the day that had to be scheduled, it was difficult because I couldn’t get a hold of them before the end of school, and it’s hard for me because I live far away. So it makes it a lot easier now that I can use it between classes.”

Sophomore classmate Rainy Zimmerman agrees.

“Since the start of the school year I haven’t used my phone – even between classes – because I try to focus on school,” she said. “But I’m glad that that they’re giving us a chance to show that we’re able to accomplish something and respect certain responsibility.”

Talcott said students could gain even more time to text and talk during the school day if all goes well during the pilot process. He said phone use could also be opened up during the student’s 30-minute lunch period, but not during T.E.A.M. time.

If students abuse the revised cell phone use policy, Talcott said privileges could be pulled back or eliminated all together.
Cell phone use in the student handbook mandated that cell/digital phones be turned off or incapable of activation during the school day unless preauthorized, prohibited students from taking digital images or inappropriate photographs to ensure the privacy of others, and were required to be stored in the student’s locker or vehicle during the school day. They were not to be carried in book bags or purses, for example.

Students who violated the cell phone use policy could face detention, Saturday School points, suspension and expulsion.

If a violation did occur, the device was confiscated.

At midweek of the pilot process, sophomore Brad Gingles remained optimistic in the student body.

“I think for the most part, kids are respecting the rules,” he said.

Cell phone use between class periods at Brandon Valley High School may be allowed again if the student body doesn't abuse the privilege. Photo by Jill Meier

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