Next year’s school cellphone policies would be more consistent—and more consistently enforced—in the Janesville School District if the school board approves a recommended policy.
At a meeting Monday, the Janesville School Board Policy, Personnel and Curriculum Committee recommended new language for the rules governing cellphones in the middle and high schools.
The policies wouldn’t change significantly, but they would be uniform among buildings, and the consequences for violating the rules would be more specific.
Last fall, the school board requested the policies be reviewed and updated for districtwide consistency, Assistant Superintendent Scott Garner said.
Middle and high school administrators met three times in the winter of 2019-20 to come up with the recommended policy, Garner told the committee.
At the middle school level, all cellphones would go into Yondr pouches during the first period of the school day. A Yondr pouch is a soft case that locks when it closes. The pouches can be opened at special stations before the lunch hour and at the end of the day.
Consequences for violating the rules would range from phones being confiscated and parents contacted to students losing the privilege of bringing their phones to school.
At the high school level, use of cellphones would not be allowed during class except with permission from teachers. This would include using phones in hallways or restrooms during class periods.
Cellphones could be used before and after school, during passing times, and during lunch.
If students wanted to bring their cellphones into classrooms, they could keep them in pouches provided for the purpose. In this case, a “pouch” is just that: a container of fabric or another material. Devices must be turned off or silenced.
The district looked at getting Yondr pouches for the high schools, but they turned out to be “logistically and financially not possible,” Garner told the committee.
Smartwatches, which often have many of the same functions as phones, could be worn in the classroom, according to the rules. However, watches would be confiscated if “the student is using the watch in any way other than telling time,” the policy states.
At the high school level, consequences would include:
First offense: Phone turned over to the office with a behavior referral. Phone is returned to the student at the end of the day.
Second offense: Phone turned over to office with behavior referral and returned to a parent or guardian at the end of the day. Student gets a detention.
Third and subsequent offenses: Phone turned over to the office with a behavior referral; parent or guardian must meet with school officials and the phone must be checked in and out of the office for 20 days.
Refusing to follow the rules would lead to an in-school or out-of-school suspension and the phone being check in and out of the office for 20 days.
The policy will not go into effect unless approved by the full school board.