WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Board of Education on Monday approved a new cell phone policy for Brooke High School students, citing distractions caused by the phones.
Adopted as part of the county's student services handbook for 2012-13, the new policy prohibits high school students from using cell phones during the school day. Under it, the students may bring them to school but they must be stored in their lockers at the start of the school day and not retrieved until it ends.
A policy adopted by the board early last year prohibited middle and elementary school pupils from using the phones during the school day. But it allowed students to use them between classes and at lunch at the principal's discretion.
Kathy Kidder-Wilkerson, superintendent of schools, said exceptions will be made for classes in which students use web-based applications on their phones for their class work, but their teachers must note that use in their lesson plans.
Those who don't comply may have their phones confiscated temporarily. The policy sets various penalties, up to external suspension, for repeat offenses.
Before adopting last year's policy, the board received complaints from staff and parents that cell phones have created a distraction in classrooms.
Kidder-Wilkerson said since then a majority of staff in the high school's faculty senate voted to recommend restricting the phones.
She added distractions by cell phone use, including texting, was the most frequent complaint among parents who participated in a special day at the high school in which parents attend school in place of their children.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)