Cell Phones: What’s a School to Do?

Cell Phones: What’s a School to Do? A Message from the Principal

Today I am writing to you about cell phones in school. As parents and teachers in the partnership to educate our children to be successful, happy, healthy teens and beyond, we know that our children are learning to navigate and thrive in our digital, global world and they have many tools to use. Technology in education has brought much needed innovation, creativity, collaboration, and personalization to learning. However, we also share a growing concern about the impacts of excessive screen time on kids, poor choices made while they are trying to learn appropriate use, and the disruption to the learning environment when phone use is unregulated for tweens and teens.

As the number of cell phones in school has risen in the last few years we have seen an increase in the disruptions to teaching and learning. Examples of problems presented by the presence of cell phones in our school are students taking photos of other students without their knowledge and posting them to social media platforms, conflicts arising in the school environment because of SnapChat posts that “disappear”, interruptions to learning in order to deal with texting during class, students arguing with adults about cell phones, and increasing numbers of lost cell phones.

This year at Riverside we are tightening up the expectations for student cell phones in order to maintain a high level of focus on learning. As has been the case for several years, kids will be able to use their cell phones before and after school. During school we will require cell phones to be off and in their locker or otherwise out of sight.

Consequences for violating the cell phone guidelines will remain:
First time student may pick up from office at end of day from ISS teacher.

2. Second time parent will be contacted and parent picks up phone.

3. A third time may result in student being asked to turn in their phone to an adult at the beginning of the school day.

The Riverside Middle School office is open during the school day to receive and communicate messages to kids. If there is an urgent concern we are quickly able to locate children and put them in touch with parents. Students can use their cell phones after school to communicate directly with parents.

Cell phones are a tool we use to live our lives and a tool our children must learn to manage. Life requires periods of concentration, listening, and learning without the tether of personal technology. We are asking for your support as we seek to fulfill our obligation to provide children with an excellent education.