D230 poised to relax cell policy

Board expected to vote Feb. 28

By Jeff Vorva

Come March, Stagg High School students may be able to text in school and make phone calls.

The Consolidated High School District 230 board of education is scheduled to vote at its Feb. 28 meeting whether to change the policy governing the use of cell phones, iPads, iPods and tablets. The proposed changes to the policy would loosen things up quite a bit for students at Stagg and Sandburg high schools.

"Right now the policy is that students shouldn't be seen with their cell phones," board member Rick Nogal said. "And it has to be off at all times. This change is going to be dramatic. Phones and other devices will be allowed to be used during lunch time or in the hallway. The phones will only have to be off in the classroom during academic time."

The existing ban of personal communication devices on school property starts at 7 a.m. and runs to 3 p.m.

"We recognize the reality that these kids have devices and should be able to use them as long as it's not disrupting the educational process," Nogal said. "Right now the policy is outdated. If anyone's cell phone is seen, they could be punished. Teachers, administration and students were asking for a change.''

Officials said other school districts have been relaxing their standards on the use of technology during school hours.

"We're supposed to be teaching students how to appropriately use technology," District 230 spokeswoman Carla Erdey said. "You can't learn how to use it if you don't use it. The policy was old because the technology was old and now we want to change it."