School Cell-Phone Rules Remain the Same This Year


(Thursday, August 30, 2007 5:57 PM EDT)

Students headed back to class in Arlington this year will find no change in the overall rules for cell-phone use, but will find that different schools have varying interpretations when it comes to specifics.

Arlington Public Schools officials have permitted students to carry cells phones for a number of years. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks convinced school officials that the policy was the right one.

“Parents wanted a way to get in touch with their children in case of an emergency,” said Frank Bellavia, a school system spokesman.

System policy states that “students cannot use any electronic device that can disrupt class,” Bellavia said. “This includes cell phones, [but] students can have cell phones on them, as long as they are off or on silent.”

The basic cell phone policy applies to students in all grades, but more specific policies - whether phones can be on vibrate, if students can make cell calls between classes and during lunch, etc. - are determined by each school.

Various concerns regarding cell phones in schools range from the distraction of ringers going off in class to more serious issues, such as taking pictures in locker rooms and texting to cheat on tests.

Last year, for example, cell phones played a part in a cheating scandal on the Advanced Placement U.S. history test at Severna Park High School in Anne Arundel County.

According to Arlington school officials, cell phones have not been a problem in the schools, and, as of right now, there are no plans to revisit the current cell-phone policy.

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