Can You Hear Me Now? School Board Adopts New Cell Phone Policy

Can You Hear Me Now? School Board Adopts New Cell Phone Policy

Students will have one more thing to pack when they head back to school in August, after the Unified School Board voted Tuesday night to allow students to bring cell phones to school, albeit with restrictions.
MEMPHIS, TN (loclamemphis.com) - New backpack? Check. New lunchbox? Check. New cell phone? Students will have one more thing to pack when they head back to school in August, after the Unified School Board voted Tuesday night to allow students to bring cell phones to school, albeit with restrictions.

"This cell phone thing is huge, it's big, and I'm glad to see our school board took it," said Beverly Davis, who has two teenage students who go to Memphis City Schools.

Last year, students in Memphis City Schools were not allowed to bring phones to school at all.

The new policy allows students to bring phones to school, but they must be off during the school day, and remain in student's lockers.

"God forbid we have another Sandy Hook Elementary, and a kid can't call the police, or call their parents because their phone is in their locker, it's just ridiculous," said Unified School Board member Kenneth Whalum, Jr.

The board considered delaying the vote, even after calling a special meeting on Tuesday night to consider it, ahead of a deadline to print new student manuals.

"To me it seems a shame that we had the meeting," said Unified Board member Betty Mallott. "Now we are saying, never mind."

In the end, the board approved allowing phones.

Davis, knowing her two kids, welcomed the new rules.

"I don't want my kids sitting up in class texting, ok, so there are some rules, and rules are a good thing," she said.

The board also voted to give principals wide latitude to set cell phone policies at their schools, should teachers want to incorporate a cell phone into a class lesson.

The board did not vote on a new corporal punishment policy. As it stands now, Shelby County schools allow it, and Memphis City Schools do not.

Board members requested more information, and will consider that policy when they meet again next week.


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