Cu l8r, Razor?
Here's the 411: Schools, if they haven't already, might 86 kids' favorite messaging systems and other electronic devices in classes and locker rooms under a bill a state legislator is working up now.
That doesn't necessarily mean kids will have to leave their Sidekicks home. Based on what several school districts are doing now, students may just have to turn off their phones in places where learning, courtesy, security think electronic crib sheets or privacy is paramount.
"It is a common sense approach to electronic devices in schools," said Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, who is drafting legislation to require school districts have policies on electronic devices.
"Yes, children need them for safety ... and parents (want) to have confidence in knowing they can communicate. But no, it cannot be a distraction in the education process."
Currently, kids can use phones to text message each other during class or testing time or take embarrassing photographs in a locker room and post them on the World Wide Web, if they want to.
"Students are so good at texting they can text right under the desk ... and send answers to friends across the room," said Bryan Bowles, superintendent of Davis School District. "Our principals and teachers have had some concern in feeling like the police of those phones."
Allen said one-third to one-half of states require districts to come up with some kind of policy regarding electronic devices. She said her bill will be patterned after theirs.
Several school districts including Alpine, Box Elder, Davis, Granite, Jordan and Salt Lake City have policies governing electronic devices. Salt Lake, for instance, says kids have to shut off cell phones during class time or school activities. Alpine says they must be off in the restrooms and locker rooms, too.
Davis District's policy says phones may be confiscated by school personnel if used during class time parents may be required to come pick up the devices if they want them back. And if a student uses a device inappropriately, he or she could be suspended.
"It's pretty much a common-sense policy. It gives flexibility school to school" on how to handle cell phones, Bowles said."I haven't had anyone express any concerns or complaints (about the policy) from parents or students or school officials," he said. "It seems to be working well."