Southeastern bans student cell phones during school day

Students bringing a cell phone to Southeastern Jr./Sr. High School will now be required to leave it in their locker during school hours, a change to Southeastern Local School’s cell phone policy says.

In past year, students could carry their phones with them, however they had to be turned off. Now, phones must be off and placed in lockers throughout the school day, according to Southeastern Local School’s Superintendent, David Shea.

“It’s not a huge change, but I personally don’t see the need for cell phones during the school day,” Shea said.

Shea said part of the reason for the policy change was because it’s hard for teachers and staff to monitor students now that their is a “one-on-one,” system, or one electric device for every student.

In early June, a video made its way around social media showing a Southeastern junior high school students following a student around a field trying to get him to fight.

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“It would be silly to think that didn’t play a part in it,” Shea said.

The video also shows the group approaching a boy and girl and making jokes about the girl becoming pregnant.

“It shed some light on how cell phones can be used to exaggerate a situation,” Shea said. “I’m not blaming the cell phones for that situation, there are other issues that we have to tend to that have nothing to do with cell phones. But one aspect of that is that cell phones were being used to capture people images that did not want their image captured.”

Shea said the district decided to reevaluate privacy violation in school when phones are out, and how to prevent it.

“When you have 200, almost 300 kids, carrying around cell phones it makes it difficult to moderate when they have them in the bathroom, in the hallways, in the classroom, it’s tough,” Shea said. “I don’t know if students always understand the context of what they are doing, or what they are using their phones for.”

Students who are caught using their phones will be given a verbal warning at first, but if phone use continues they could face harsher punishments.

“If you have been given a warning or reminder and its progressing and you aren’t following the rules, then it goes into the area of after school detention, lunch detention, some form of progressive punishment,” Shea said.

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Shea said he believes Southeastern has, “great students.”

“I feel great about our students, honestly. I don’t worry about our students,” Shea said. “But sometimes students just may not think things through or think about the effects of what they might be doing.”

Shea said he understands why parents want their children to have their cell phones at school.

“We don’t want students to not bring their phones to school,” Shea said. “They can use them after school — we know that many of them have practice and stuff going on after school and have to get into contact with their parents. They just don’t need them in the classroom.”

If parents need to contact their child during the school day, they are encouraged to call the school’s front office, Shea said.

“Students will have their [school issued computers] throughout the day with them, so parents could email them,” Shea said. “But we prefer they call the office so we can keep up with what’s going on if a student needs additional help.”

Back to school:

In the weeks leading up to the start of the 2019-2020 school year, the Springfield News-Sun will be providing back to school news, including information on policy changes, on Clark and Champaign County school districts.

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