Now hear this students…

High school considers classroom cell phone ban

By Per Peterson

Starting this fall, cell phones could be history in history class at Tracy Area High School.
At last week’s District 2904 School Board meeting, TAHS Principal Kathy Vondracek told school board members that teachers weighed in with their thoughts on cell phones in the classroom at the end-of-year workshop and all but three voted in favor of a campus-wide classroom ban on the devices. Of the three teachers who didn’t physically support the move, two already have instituted a ban in their respective classrooms, Vondracek said.
“Teachers just really think cellphones are beginning to be such a distraction to teaching and learning,” Vondracek told the board. “We decided it was time that we do something different. We’ll try it, give it a shot. I’m perfectly fine in supporting that.”
School board member Ben Ludeman commended Vondracek and the teachers on the move.
“You have my personal support,” Ludeman said.
Vondracek admitted the first month of the ban will be difficult and said that she wanted 100% buy-in from the teachers before moving ahead with the ban.
“We got everybody but three teachers to vote for it,” she said. “I kind of put it on hold and thought about it for about a month. One of the teachers told me that they would support whatever I decided and the other two that have really strict cell phone policies already I suppose didn’t feel the need for a school-wide ban.”
The former policy didn’t prohibit students from bringing their cell phones anywhere on campus, it simply stated that phones can not be used during class time without teacher permission.
The new policy reads as follows:
“Cell phones may not be used during class time, be in the classroom and/or in the possession of the student. This includes using the cell phone in any way, anywhere in the building during class time. Teachers will confiscate the phone if the student is in violation. Cell phone use has been found to be detrimental to the learning process due to the amount of distraction and cheating opportunities. Cell phones may be used during passing times and noon hour. They must be kept locked in their lockers during class time. Parents are encouraged to contact their children through the office at 507-629-5500.”
The school board will take action on the proposed cell phone ban at its next meeting on July 17.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.