New policy considered regarding school cell phones

Jenae Wilkens, 17. talks to her mother on a cell phone Tuesday at Carson High School.  photo by Rick gunn

Jenae Wilkens, 17. talks to her mother on a cell phone Tuesday at Carson High School. photo by Rick gunn

Carson City schools will have a whole new ring to them this year -- or at least a text message.

Trustees drafted a policy Tuesday that would allow high school students to bring their cell phones to school, but not use them during class or testing times.

"That's the way it should be," said Jon Holloway, 16. "Cell phones are a good way to get in touch with your parents and let them know where you are and what you're doing."

Until this summer, Nevada law prevented all students from bringing cell phones or pagers on campuses. The Legislature rescinded that law, leaving it up to each school board to draft the policy governing its district.

Board members discussed the tentative plan to permit high school students to use their phones outside of class and to restrict middle and elementary school students to using their phones only before or after school.

Trustee Jim Hukari called it "nothing but a nightmare waiting to happen."

But R.J. Sorenson, 16, said the new policy will reflect what most students were doing anyway.

"I did that last year," he said. "I just put it on vibrate during class. You have to be smart and not let it ring."

The new policy also sets disciplinary measures for students who break the rule. Punishments range from confiscation of the device to conferences with parents.

Fred Perdomo, vice principal of Carson High School, said he sees the convenience cell phones provide in keeping students and parents in easy contact. But he also recognizes the potential dangers.

"They could essentially cheat on tests by sending text messages," he said. "It's like having your own private little two-way radio."

He also worries about camera phones in inappropriate places, such as locker rooms.

"There could be pictures taken all over the school that could be very improper," Perdomo said. "It's easy to do once you have one."

Although Danna Sturm can see some benefits to allowing her daughter and her classmates to bring their cell phones to school, she is opposed to the policy.

"I don't like the idea," she said. "In cases of emergency, I'd like my daughter to have her cell phone, but I think the chances of that really happening are so slim, I would say no."


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