The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Fulton

April 25, 2014

River Bend board weighs cell change

FULTON, Ill. — Fulton High School students may earn a little freedom next year when it comes to their cellphones, but it’s not time to start celebrating just yet.

During a River Bend School District board meeting this week, Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Josh Knuth presented a potential policy change allowing high school students use of their cellphones between classes and during lunch, a presentation that was received with mixed reviews from the board.

Knuth explained that out of 10 local school districts that he researched, eight allow a similar cellphone policy for students and have since seen a reduction in behavioral issues in their schools.

“It gives them a little bit of freedom which in turn helps control discipline,” Knuth said. “One thing from the schools that I talked to is that they really see a change in the discipline violations when they went to let their students use cellphones. Hallway disruptions, criminal mischief and those types of activities drop tremendously, at lunch time especially.”

Board member Nick Crosthwaite spoke unfavorably about the policy changes, stating that he felt uncomfortable with allowing the use of cellphones during school hours.

He also added that if the board were to accept the new policy it could be cause for potential conflicts in the future.

“I’m not comfortable with opening it up,” he said. “I can foresee problems once you start opening those gates. It concerns me because of where it goes from there.”

Fulton High School Principal Chris Tennyson understood Crosthwaite’s concerns, but said if the school doesn’t implement the new policy now, there will be a time down the road where they will have to rethink their decision.

“Whether it’s this year, the next year, or the year after, I just foresee a point at some point where there’s going to be too many valid uses for what they can use it for,” Tennyson said.

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