Knox Board votes to amend cell phone policy

Powered off and out of sight, that is the decision made by Board members on Thursday night concerning student possession of cell phones.

The Board made the decision following feedback heard by the Superintendent from the district’s middle and high school principals.

“Our schools are now equipped with enough technology, thanks to our grant partners, to ensure that devices are available when students need them in the classroom,” explained Kelly Sprinkles, Superintendent.

The policy had previously been edited this spring to forbid students from taking pictures and videos during school hours using their devices.  That decision was based on student privacy, noting that several students are exempt from being photographed even by the district.

The new policy, in its entirety, states:

All devices shall be powered off and kept out of sight during school hours, including periods of transportation provided by the school system but excluding extracurricular activities. Any such item observed by school personnel, not being used for instructional purposes, shall be confiscated from the student in possession.  Students should not use their device with camera to take photographs or video of other students during the school day or while being transported to/from school to protect the privacy right requests of families.

On the first occurrence, students (or parent/guardian as determined by school policy and the principal) may pick up the item from the principal and sign for it no sooner than the next school day. On the second occurrence, the item will be retained by the school for a 30-day period and must be picked up by a parent/guardian. On the third occurrence, the item will be retained by the school for the remainder of the school year and the parent will be called for conference. The school principal may determine the length that the item will be retained. Repeated offenses will result in Level 1-4 disciplinary responses.

Students attending Knox County Learning Academy are prohibited from bringing any electronic device to school.