TCS reviews cell phone policy

Published 11:00 pm Monday, August 8, 2011

Policies to address cell phone usage and dual enrollment were considered Monday by the Troy City Schools board members during a called meeting.

Superintendent Lee Hicks presented two polices for the board to review.

The first addresses cell phone and texting devices, which are not allowed on school campuses at this time.

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“Under the new policy, students could have cell phones but they would have to be out-of-sight, either in a backpack, purse or their locker, during the school day,” said Wally Lowery, a board member who has long advocated a change in the policy to allow students to possess cellular phones while on campus.

“We’re reviewing the policy, although I think we’ll make some changes to it before it’s finalized,” Lowery said, “For example, I don’t think students at the elementary school should have the phones at all, so I’m pushing that the new policy apply only to students at the middle school, high school and vo-tech school.”

The policy is designed to “get out of the Industrial Age,” Lowery said and acknowledge the fact that many students possess and use cell phones, for regular communication and for safety concerns. “I think as long as they don’t have the cell phones turned on during regular school hours, it should be OK to have them.”

However, Lowery urged students and parents to remember the board has not approved any policy changes yet. That means the existing policy, which mandates ISS for students caught with a cell phone, remains in place. “So students don’t need to show up on the first day of school with a cell phone,” Lowery said.

The board also is reviewing a policy to clarify its dual enrollment and dual credit policy. The proposal offered by Hicks would allow dual enrollment in college courses beginning in the 10th grade.

“I think there have been some questions on how we handle the Global Studies Academy, which is the official dual enrollment program of the school system,” said Dr. Judson Edwards, vice president of the school board. “We really didn’t have a policy to address dual enrollment outside of Global Studies, and I think this is a first step towards that.”

Edwards said his concern is finding a policy that addresses students who dually enroll in core curriculum classes while in high school. “What I’m most concerned about is how we address core classes in high school,” he said.

Board members will review both policies at their regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 22.

In other business, the board approved three hires: Matt Johnson as maintenance employee at the central office; Scherrie Banks as counselor at Charles Henderson Middle School; and Michelle Hicks in special education at the middle school.