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Board of Ed won't issue edict on cell phones

Board of Ed won't issue edict on cell phones



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The State Board of Education is asking individual school districts and charter schools to make the call when it comes to allowing cell phones in the classroom.

Whether your teen's ringtone is traditional or techno, it's still distracting in the classroom. Director of School Law and Legislation Carol Lear says it's not just distracting, but cell phones open up a Pandora's Box of possibilities from picture swapping to passing notes and even cheating.

She says she knows parents are conflicted.

"On the one hand, they often blame schools: Why aren't they controlling this in the junior high schools? But by the same token, they want to be able to contact their 10-year-old about his dental appointment on a moment's notice," she said.

She says the state board isn't setting a hard and fast rule. But it is mandating schools get policies in place and spread the word to parents so everyone's on the same page.

Lear says it's been a challenge to stay ahead of the students, who often are much more technologically literate than teachers.

"Most of the people in charge of schools are adults, which immediately puts us at a disadvantage in dealing with younger people, who just - this is their culture. This is their life. All of them are more adept than most of the administrators in the school and the teachers in the school," Lear said.

Lear added, "I think it's really important to note that we, the State Board, is looking for school districts to make decisions at the local level. Park City parents and school administrators may decide that their standards should be different than South Jordan or North Provo or San Juan."

She says the board will provide some model policies and some guidance for the smaller school districts that need assistance.

E-mail: bbruce@ksl.com

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Becky Bruce

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