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Stories Added - December 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
TISD adopts tougher cell phone rule
Trinity Standard - December 2008
TRINITY – Although the use of cell phones at school has long been forbidden, the Trinity School Board approved a new policy Monday that carries stiffer punishment for violations.
During their meeting, the school board approved changes to the current student handbook and student code of conduct to enable administrators to crack down on the use of the communication devices during school hours.
The board approved the changes in a 5-1 vote with Board Member Gary Gallant casting the only “no” vote.”
Under the policy, students will not be allowed to possess pagers, radios, CD players and other electronic devices or games on campus without permission.
For safety reasons, students who are not assigned to the Alternative Education Program (AEP) may possess cell phones but they must be turned off and put away during the instructional day. Any cell phone that is seen or heard is subject to being confiscated,
AEP students will not be allowed to carry cell phones whether they are turned off or not. Those caught with a cell phone will have to serve an additional 30 days in the program.
In the past, when a cell phone was confiscated on a first offense, it was turned over to the campus principal and the student could reclaim it at the end of the day.
Under the new policy, the cell phones will be given to the superintendent.
For first offenses, the student’s parent may reclaim confiscated pagers or phone after a five-day waiting period. They will be required to showing proof of ownership, sign a notarized statement and pay a $15 processing fee.
Second offenses will require parents to wait 10 days to reclaim the phone and pay an additional $15 fee.
Additional offenses will mean the school will hold the phone for 30 days before parents can reclaim them. Again, a $15 fee will be charged.
When questioned by the board about the use of cell phones in an emergency – such as the recent school evacuations caused by bomb threats – both Superintendent Dr. Bobby Rice and Secondary School Principal Jim Underwood indicated students would be allowed to use the phones once they were moved to safe areas.
It was noted that police had asked that students not be allowed to use the phones inside the school during the evacuation because bombs can sometimes be triggered by a cell phone signal.
Rice also noted that cell phones left in a student’s vehicle were not subject to being confiscated.
Underwood noted that letters concerning the cell phone policy in both English and Spanish were being sent home with students this week.
The new policy is set to go into effect when students return from the Christmas holiday.
During the meeting, the board also:
• Received a Career and Technology Education (CATE) report from CATE Director Tally Jo Stout outlining vocational programs currently offered and programs that may be offered in the future. Among the programs that are being examined for the future include a robotics program, a certified veterinary assistant program, a Texas master gardener program, an educational aide program and a nurses’ aide program.
• Received a report on the school band program from Band Director Stanley Welch.
• Learned that as of Monday, a total of 65 applications had been received for the vacant athletic director’s position. Rice said the deadline for submitting applications is Jan. 15. A committee will be formed to evaluate the applicants and to select the top candidates for board interviews.
• Received a report on the possibility of adopting a standardized dress policy for the school district. Rice noted the policy is something the board is interest in exploring but noted no action will be taken without input from parents.
• Approved an energy saving plan that will allow “campuses to compete against itself” to cut electric costs. Under the policy 20 percent of any savings demonstrated by a school campus will be paid into the principal’s activity account to be used “as the principal sees fit” on the campus.
• Recognized members of the Lansberry Elementary School UIL academic teams.
• Recognized the Trinity High School girls’ varsity basketball team, which claimed first place at the West Hardin Tournament and won the Sportsmanship Award at a tournament this past weekend in Beaumont.