These days it’s rare to see children without a device in their hand.
Johnnie Hawkins is one of many teachers annoyed by cellphone usage during school hours. She asks her students to put their phone near her desk until the end of class. Some teachers are even locking them inside a box.
“I think the locked box is a good idea because you don’t risk it being taken,” Hawkins said.
Some parents are worried about locking the phones away make it challenging to get in contact with someone in an emergency.
Tia Gambrel-Irizarry’s son went to a school in Parkland, Florida and was part of the lockdown during last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School. She says her son’s texts saved them from thinking the worst.
“It was relieving, scary, but you still appreciate knowing. As long as they’re texting you, they’re alive.”
Hawkins says it’s more important for students to keep their eyes on their surroundings rather than a screen during emergencies.
“If you’re trying to call your parent, then you’re making noise, and you’re going to bring that attention if the gunman is by your classroom.”
“It’s scary to think like ‘what if there’s an emergency,’ but that’s just the way we have to think now,” Gambrel-Irizarry said.
There's no clear right or wrong answer in this debate, and that's exactly what we found in the student handbooks of some of the largest school districts in the Tulsa metro:
TULSA PUBLIC SCHOOLS: click here for handbook link
Elementary, Middle and Junior High School:
Students are prohibited from using wireless devices during the academic school day including lunch periods whether inside or outside the building.
During school hours, wireless devices must be turned off at all times in a student's locker, or in their backpack, purse, or pocket.
Students may use their cell phone during the lunch hour and during passing periods.
Students are prohibited from using their cell phones in the classroom.
Students using their cell phones or wireless telecommunication device in areas prohibited will have their cell phones confiscated immediately.
UNION PUBLIC SCHOOLS: click here for handbook link
Unless otherwise noted in the student handbook or through written communication to the parents from the principal, the use of such devices is prohibited except with the prior written consent of both the parent/guardian of the student and the school principal.
JENKS PUBLIC SCHOOLS: click here for handbook link
Students may possess wireless communication devices during school hours under the following conditions:
1. In the classroom, the device must be turned off and not be visible.
2. Students are prohibited from using the device except when a teacher allows the use of the device for academic purposes.
3. Beyond the authorized classroom use, elementary and intermediate students may only use their electronic devices before or after school hours. Students in grades seven and eight may use their electronic devices before or after school hours and during lunch, and students in grades nine through twelve may use electronic devices before or after school hours, during passing periods, and during lunch.
BROKEN ARROW PUBLIC SCHOOLS: click here for handbook link
Students are not to use cell phones during the school day (8:00 a.m.- 2:40 p.m.).
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