A recent fight sparked by social media has prompted a Connecticut school district to consider implementing a new cell phone policy, and administrators say it would help if parents had their kids leave phones at home.
Ignacio Laguarda, The Stamford Advocate, Conn.
(TNS) — Student privacy, safety and religious diversity were examined during a recent meeting of the Stamford Board of Education and members of its Student Advisory committee.
A recent fight at a district middle school allegedly sparked by social media that left one student badly injured has raised concerns from administrators about students’ use of cell phones.
That concern could lead to a new district policy, since Stamford Public Schools currently does not have an overarching rule for cell phone usage. Instead, individual schools set their own rules — and even then, enforcement can be varied.
“Some teachers you know not to have your phone out, and some teachers you know it’s OK if you have your phone on your desk or if you’re using it in class,” said Samantha Samuel, a student at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering, during a meeting of the Board of Education’s student advisory this week.
Board member Becky Hamman said she’s worked in districts with a districtwide cell phone policy and seemed supportive of introducing one in Stamford.
“I understand students have rights with cell phones but when people’s safety is at risk because of cell phones, that is pretty serious,” she said.
In late April, five students at Cloonan allegedly attacked another in a school bathroom. The child sustained a head and knee injury.
Earlier in the school year, Cloonan students also filmed themselves taking part in a TikTok Challenge in which they used their hands to imitate firing a gun, directed at a camera.
During a community meeting a week ago to discuss the district’s response to the alleged April attack, administrators spoke about what they said was the role of cell phones and social media on an increased level of violence at the school.
Cloonan Principal David Tate told parents that if they got their children to keep their phones at home, “it would help significantly.”
Taking cell phones away from students comes with privacy concerns, since teachers or administrators could have access to a student’s personal information, including bank account data.