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|Robinson wants school board to revisit cell phone policy|
The Ouachita Parish School Board will revisit its new cell phone policy after several parents complained it was too harsh.
School board member Scott Robinson said he recently received calls from parents and principals regarding the new cell phone policy. He spoke with other board members and Superintendent Dr. Bob Webber about addressing their concerns.
Since the current school year is about to end, Robinson suggested the school board look at the issue some time over the summer and make changes to the policy for the next school year.
"By the time we got anything put together for this school year, the year would basically be gone," Robinson said. "But I do want us to revisit some of the issues on this because when we enacted this policy, it was our first shot at it to try and stem some of the problems we were having."
"It has been helpful, but I think we need to make some altercations on some of the penalties that may be a little bit harsh," he added.
Robinson asked Webber to meet with principals and assistant principals at parish schools to come up with recommendations to address the concerns over penalties for violating the school system's cell phone policy.
"It has had an impact on cutting down the use (of cell phones on school property)," Robinson explained. "That's what we wanted, but I think there's probably a balance for students in this situation."
School Board member Susan Spence also said she has received phone calls from parents concerned with this new policy, which was adopted last summer.
Webber agreed the new policy has helped curb cell phone use by students on school property, but he agrees it can be tweaked.
"Some children were using it to cheat on tests and some were filming others in the locker room as they dressed," Webber said. "So, there are good reasons for this rule, but certainly we understand parents want to keep up with their kids. We just ask that they turn them off when they're at school."
"I think everyone agrees that there is some tweaking we can do, and I think summer would be the appropriate time to do that," Webber added.
Under the current policy, students would have their cell phones held by school administrators for 30 calendar days from the date of an offense.
Students caught violating the policy a second time would not be allowed to possess a cell phone on school property for the entire school year. They would also have their phone held for 30 calendar days.
A third offense would result in the student's phone being held for the entire school year. The student also would be suspended for one day and both the student and a parent of the student would be required to meet with a child welfare and attendance officer before he or she could return to school.
For the fourth offense, the student could be recommended for expulsion and transferred to the parish school system's alternative school for the remainder of the school year.