School looks at changing cell phone policy

PARSON — Tucker County High School Principal Steve Cosner approached the Tucker County Board of Education during a regular session this week to discuss the cell phone policy at the high school.

Cosner said the current policy calls for cell phones to be taken away from students who are caught on their phones during school hours.

Cosner wants to change the current policy to one that would be more lenient on students and their cell phones, proposing that there are other disciplinary actions that the school can take rather than taking a child’s phone away.

“We have procedures in place to deal with this, from lunch detentions, in-school suspension and out of school suspension,” Cosner stated.

The proposed change in policy is mainly for safety measures, with the rise of school shootings and bomb threats in the United States, he said.

Cosner said he spoke with a man who recently lost his daughter to a school shooting, a man named John-Michael Keyes, who changed Cosner’s mind about the current policy that punishes children for using their phones during school hours.

Cosner said Keyes explained to him that the school should rethink their policy, because cell phones are crucially important during any sort of disaster or crisis, as they were to Keyes when he lost his daughter to a school shooting.

Keyes and his wife, Ellen Keyes have taken action to promote school safety in many ways through their foundation, “I Love U Guys.” The name of the foundations is taken from the last text that their daughter sent.

Cosner hopes to work with the new student council to create a new policy for cell phone use in the school.

He proposed that the new cell phone policy would allow students to use their phones in hallways, during lunch and for educational use in the classroom when permitted by teachers.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School third-grade teacher Christine Ward announced a grant has been obtained by the school to expand the current STEM programs.

The grant will provide $837.17 to add a hydroponic system to the high tunnel at the school. Along with this, the grant will also help add third- and fourth-grade STEM curriculum to the school.