Pennsylvania school districts debate cellphone policies

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, June 30, 2014

Deciding when a child is old enough to handle the responsibility of having his or her own cellphone or similar electronic device is a tough decision that parents and guardians have to make in the modern digital age.

But whether a child is 6 or 16 when he or she first gets a phone, the matter of how they handle that device in school is one that districts wrestle with on an ongoing basis.

In Pennsylvania, the issue is primarily addressed at the local level with districts setting policy. For the most part, the use of such devices is banned during the school day. Some districts ban possession of such devices altogether while others allow students to bring them to school as long as they remain out of sight during the regular school day.

Steel Valley School District officials are examining a policy already on the books that allows students to bring devices to school but requires the devices be turned over to school officials. A district committee recently discussed allowing students in secondary grades to stow their devices in their lockers rather than check them in each morning.

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