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Board approves new K-8 mobile device policy

Filed in Archive, District, District News by on March 2, 2020

new mobile device policy

The Bethlehem Central Board of Education has unanimously approved a new policy that requires students in kindergarten through grade 8 to keep all personal mobile devices out of sight during the school day. The new policy, Policy 5310 – Use of Mobile Devices K-8, is intended to limit distractions in the classroom. The policy language can be viewed below.

The new policy defines mobile devices as any cell phone, smartwatch, or other personal telecommunications device. Under the new rule, the student devices will need to be kept in a locker or backpack and can not be used between classes or during lunch or recess. The policy is effective immediately. Building principals from each of the schools impacted by the new policy will be sharing information with staff and with families explaining how the new policy will be implemented at their buildings.

“Our elementary schools and many teachers at the middle school already have no-device rules in place,” said Superintendent Monroe. “This policy formalizes the requirements across the early and middle grades, and adds smartwatches to the devices that are not allowed to be out during the school day.”

Superintendent Monroe said the new mobile device policy will not impact students in grades 9-12. Currently, each teacher at the high school keeps a cell phone sleeve at the front of their classroom in which students are encouraged to place their phones during class.

The Board of Education approved the new policy at its February 26 meeting.

Policy 5310 | Mobile Devices in Grades K-8

The Board of Education (the Board) of the Bethlehem Central School District (the District) recognizes the importance of technology and provides computers for student use within the classroom.  The Board also recognizes that, whether intentional or not, mobile devices create a social, intellectual, and emotional barrier to being fully present during school and can cause disruption to the educational process, particularly in the elementary and middle school.

“Mobile devices” shall mean any cell phone, smart watch, or other personal telecommunications device.

To reduce unnecessary distraction, the display and/or use by students of mobile devices is prohibited from the start of the school day until the end of the regular school day.  Such devices must be turned off and stored in a student’s backpack or locker during this time period. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, the use of mobile devices in classrooms, libraries, common areas, restrooms and locker rooms, and includes transition times between classes, lunch periods, recess, and home base.

If students need to make a routine call during the school day, they should use phones available in the main office or counseling office.

Misuse of a mobile device under this policy will result in its confiscation until the end of the school day.

The District is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged mobile devices.

Cross-ref:         5300, Code of Conduct

Adopted date:  February 26, 2020