Guam DOE Allows Supervised Cell Phone Use In Classrooms

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Schools will allow phones to be used for ‘instructional purposes’

By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, March 29, 2013) – The Guam Department of Education (GDOE) has adopted a revised cell phone policy allowing restricted and monitored use of the device in the classroom for "instructional purposes" or as part of the school safety plan.

With a corresponding disciplinary action for each violation, the policy bans "sexting," cyber-bullying, academic cheating and picture-taking.

"The new policy is district-wide," said Asherdee Rosette, deputy principal of John F. Kennedy High School. "The superintendent has issued the standard operating policy, which parents are required to acknowledge so that they are aware that students are now allowed to use their cell phones in the classroom for instructional purposes."

While cell phone use restrictions on campus have been in place, the new policy provides uniform disciplinary procedures that apply to all schools.

Disciplinary actions for policy violations range from device confiscation to the student’s suspension.

Parental consent

As required of every school, Rosette said JFK has held a series of workshops to brief students about the new cell phone policy and its requirements.

Parents are required to sign a cell phone disclosure statement authorizing students to carry cell phones in the classrooms.

"We would like the parents to know that the students’ cell phone use will be strictly monitored to make sure they don’t use it for inappropriate conduct and that they don’t go to inappropriate sites," Rosette said.

Restrictions

According to the new policy, cell phone use will be allowed during class hours "if it’s part of academic instruction."

"For example, if the teacher gives an assignment and allows them to use their phones to gather data from the Internet, then they can turn on their devices," Rosette said. "But even if they are using their personal cell phones, the students still have to follow the rules."

Cell phone use in the classroom will also be allowed for students with special needs "that require such devices as prescribed by their individualized education plan, or individualized health plan," according to the policy.

Individual schools, however, are given discretionary authority to set a policy for cell phone use outside of class hours.

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