Updated cell phone protocols at AHS

August 29, 2018

Cell phones and electronic devices may serve as an outstanding instructional tool and learning resource if used appropriately. While we encourage our staff members and students to use electronics and other 21st century devices to supplement instruction and learning, it has been proven that students who are on cell phones or other electronic devices when it is not part of the instructional lesson are not fully engaged in learning.

The respectful, non-disruptive use of cell phones is permitted in the school cafeteria during the student’s lunch period and during hallway transitions only.
Prior to crossing the threshold of the classroom or any prohibited area during the school day, cell phones need to be put away and made undetectable (i.e., silenced without vibration or flashing lights).

“The school district supplies electronic devices to support learning, so students don’t need their own,” said Interim Principal Dr. Michele Downing. “When students use their phones in the classroom, it not only distracts them, it distracts the teacher and other students in the classrooms who are trying to learn.”

Note: Parents will be able to contact students during the student’s lunch
period or by calling the Main Office at 518-843-4932.

What happens if the rules aren’t followed?

Violation of these rules will result in the confiscation of the device according to the following ladder of disciplinary action:

  • First Offense – Warning: If a student is using their phone in class, the teacher warns the student to put the device away into a book bag, locker, etc.
  • Second Offense – Cell Phone Detention: If a student is using their phone in class a second time, the phone will be placed confiscated. Student retrieves cell phone at the end of the class period.
  • Third Offense – Cell Phone Detention, Teacher Calls Home, Confiscation with Student Pick-up at the End of the Day: If a student is using their phone in class for a third time, the teacher will call the Main Office to pick up the device. The student will be permitted to pick up the device in the Main Office at the end of the day. The teacher also calls home to speak to a parent or guardian.
  • Fourth Offense – Cell Phone Detention, Confiscate Until End of Day, Administrator Calls Home for Parent Pick Up: If a student is using their phone in class a fourth time, the phone will be confiscated. An administrator will establish parent contact and the parent can pick up the phone in the Main Office at the end of the day.

It should be noted that a fourth offense and/or refusal to surrender a cell phone or other electronic device at any time when directed to do so by a school staff member, teacher or administrator, will be considered insubordination. Insubordinate behavior is punishable as prescribed by the Code of Conduct.

It should be further noted that the school, nor any of its employees, is not responsible for the loss or damage to any student’s phone or electronic device whether that device is in the student’s possession or confiscated by the staff. It is the responsibility of the student to adhere to these protocols and to secure his or her belongings at all times. Classes and/or instruction will not be stopped to deal with or search for lost phones/devices.

The benefits

There will never be a perfect set of protocols, but this approach certainly will create a few things in our classrooms:

  • An atmosphere of trust. Students are treated like adults with a choice (put phone away, or in holster), not children with rules.
  • An opportunity to self-assess and build self-monitoring skills. By putting the responsibility on students we are building a behavior that will strengthen over time and into their adulthood.
  • A community of caring. The tone of our classrooms is one where we care about each other and care about learning.