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WCHS takes a no-tolerance approach to student cell phones

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Warren Central parking lot. Photo by David Day

In an email sent to parents on Aug. 2, Warren Central High School has taken a no-nonsense approach to students and cell phones.

The devices will not be allowed during school hours. Students can have them, but will not be allowed to use them during school hours, 8 a.m to 4:05 p.m., according to the email. Here is the email in its entirety.

2 August 2022

WCHS Parents and Students,

Over the last several years, student use of cell phones at the high school has increased. Because of this, our administration has dealt with ever increasing use of cell phones for non-educational purposes. We routinely see students throughout the day posting on social media, calling and texting other students, parents, and acquaintances off campus. Cell phones have also been used for videotaping altercations and destruction of school property, cyber bullying, posting negative images of teachers, and videotaping within classrooms for the purpose of disparaging a teacher. Administrators and teachers routinely deal with drama caused by cell phones for several hours each day.

In meeting with members of our Student Lead Team last year, several of them admitted to being on social media for 8-10 hours per day. They discussed added pressures that social media brings to students because they feel the need to be “perfect” all the time. They said that if they do not constantly check their accounts throughout the day, they may miss out on something; this raises anxiety levels, and in turn, many have dealt with issues of depression caused by social media. Our students also told us that they do not interact with their peers as much because they feel the need to be on their cell phones during times they could be “hanging out” with their friends.

Cell phones are a distraction from the main purpose of school, which is to give students a quality education in a safe environment, and it has become tough for teachers to compete with cell phones for the attention of students. We are seeing a rise in mental health issues with students who communicate to us that many of their negative experiences have something to do with their cell phone usage.

Because of recent cell phone trends at the school and with feedback from students, parents, and teachers, the WCHS administration and other secondary schools in the VWSD have decided to take a “no tolerance” stance on cell phone usage during school hours. During the 2022-2023 school year, we will be strictly enforcing the electronic device policy in our student handbook. Students can have cell phones, but they cannot use them during the school day from 8:00-4:05. They must be out of sight in a book back, purse, or chromebook case. The school district has provided all students with access to chromebooks to use for the school year. Any educational activity can be completed through the use of these district issued devices without the need for other electronic devices. Also, for security reasons personal devices, if brought to school, will not be allowed access to the school district internet or wifi for security purposes. This policy will also extend to wearable devices associated with cell phones such as ear buds and smartwatches.

We thank you for your support of this change in our cell phone policy as we continue to prepare students for college, careers, and life after graduation.

Sincerely,

WCHS Administration

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