Albion proposes no cell phones allowed for students in elementary, middle schools

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 June 2023 at 2:26 pm

District will allow hats for students in high school during school day

ALBION – School officials are proposing changes in the student code of conduct to not allow cell phones during the school day for students in the elementary and middle schools.

The district also is proposing a change that would allow for hats and head coverings in the high school, as long as teachers are OK with it in their classrooms.

There will be a public hearing about the code of conduct at 6:45 p.m. on July 10 before the regular Board of Education meeting.

Mickey Edwards, the district superintendent, during Monday’s board meeting highlighted some of the changes being proposed. He noted many districts have prohibited cell phones for students in the elementary and middle schools.

He noted an advisory last month from U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy who said social media can profoundly harm the mental health of youth, particularly adolescent girls.

“The most common question parents ask me is, ‘is social media safe for my kids’. The answer is that we don’t have enough evidence to say it’s safe, and in fact, there is growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people’s mental health,” Murthy said in a statement on May 23. “Children are exposed to harmful content on social media, ranging from violent and sexual content, to bullying and harassment. And for too many children, social media use is compromising their sleep and valuable in-person time with family and friends. We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis – one that we must urgently address.”

Students at Albion in the elementary and middle schools next school year will need to keep cell phones in backpacks or places where they can’t check them during the school day, according to the policy change in the code of conduct. The change includes cell phones and other cellular communication devices (Apple, Samsung, Galaxy, wrist watches, etc.)

The code of conduct states that clothing and appearance should be safe, appropriate and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process.

Some changes in the code include that shirts must not reveal more than 2 inches of the midsection.

The district is proposing to allow hats and head coverings during the school day at the high school level, but not in the elementary or middle school. These hats won’t be allowed to cover ears or faces, and teachers have the right to permit or prohibit hats in their classrooms.

Edwards said the high school did a pilot of allowing hats through the day in recent months and didn’t find hats were disruptive.

Margy Brown, a member of the board of education, said she is opposed to allowing hats being worn during the school day.

“I cannot wrap my head around the hat situation,” Brown said.

She thinks wearing them in class is a show of disrespect and hats also could be used to conceal weapons.

“I think there are certain things we’ve always stood for in Albion and respect is one of them,” Brown said.