WITH POLL | Prescott schools forbid cellphones on campus

PRESCOTT, Ark. — Prescott School District recently announced board approval of a new cellphone policy that forbids any electronic devices on campus during the 2022-23 school year.

The district posted the following update on Facebook regarding the policy that will be added to the student handbook:

“There will be no cell phones, smart watches, earbuds, headphones, or any other electronic devices allowed on campus at any time. If you for some reason have it, then it is to be turned in to the office until the end of school. If you need it for a ballgame or school sponsored trip, then it is to be turned in to the office or left in your vehicle until it is time to leave for the game or event.”

According to the district, any violation of this policy will result in a $10 fine and the student’s parents will be contacted to come and pick up the cellular device.

On the second offense, students will receive three days of in-school suspension. A third offense will result in three days of out-of-school suspension. A fourth offense will result in an expulsion recommendation.

The district also addressed policies having to do with tardiness, absences and vaping.

The Facebook post garnered a fair share of attention, with over 37,000 reactions and 19,000 shares. The district has turned off comments to the post.

Shortly after the original post, the district added the following via Facebook:

“This page was created to keep our students, parents and guardians as well as our community informed. Any derogatory comments, cursing, negative or inappropriate comments, threats or bashing of the school and school employees will be removed and users will be (banned).”

Thorndale Independent School District recently passed a similar cell phone policy.

Thorndale, Texas, is in Milam County, about an hour northeast of Austin. In a letter to parents, the district’s superintendent announced the middle and high school campuses will become “a phone and personal electronic device free space” in order to “improve teaching and learning.”

The district is adopting the Yondr system, which provides students with a storage pouch for their phones, smartwatches, earbuds and other devices. The pouches are magnetically sealed when they come to school and only unsealed when the day is over. Students who violate the policy will be fined and suspended.

The letter claims the Yondr system has been shown to improve academic performance, student behavior and classroom engagement.

Prescott School District claims its policy changes are also in the best interests of students.

“Our job is to protect and educate all students. Policies are put in place to make the education process the best it can be for our students,” according to a Monday morning post on Prescott’s Facebook page.

The Gazette was unsuccessful in attempts to contact a spokesperson for Prescott School District.

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