The new school year brings with it a new cell phone policy at Creston Community Middle School.
CCMS Principal Brad Baker first brought up the changes during the June 18 Creston Community School District Board of Directors meeting. At Monday’s regular board meeting, Baker presented board members with a letter sent to families highlighting the changes.
“I’ve heard some positive things, actually, from parents who say they don’t need them (phones), which is good,” Baker said during Monday’s meeting. “We know we’re going to have some violators, but we had those last year.”
According to the CCMS handbook, cell phones are to be turned off and stored in the student’s locker between 8:05 a.m. and 3:25 p.m. All other electronic devices brought to school must also be kept in lockers during the school day. Additionally, students are expected to practice common courtesy in regards to cell phones and other electronic devices while on school grounds during non-school hours.
The handbook reads: “Violations of this policy will result in immediate confiscation of the devices and the following consequences.”
The first violation results in the student receiving five after-school detentions and five lunch detentions. The student can pick the phone up at the end of the school day.
The second violation results in 10 after-school detentions and 10 lunch detentions, and a parent or guardian is required to pick the phone up from the office.
A third violation results in an in-school suspension and 15 lunch detentions and a parent or guardian must pick up the device from the principal and discuss the violations.
Additional violations result in a parent meeting with the student. Disciplinary actions will be handled on an individual basis for the student’s non-compliance of the policy.
“To go back a year, we really tried to align with what the high school does and our kids weren’t mature,” Baker said. “They really don’t understand that they’re breaking laws when they’re bullying kids online. So, we’re working on that.”
Creston Community High School Principal Bill Messerole told the board that high school students are allowed to have their cell phones at lunch and in the hallways, but are not to have them in the classroom unless instructed to by a teacher.
According to Messerole, some students use their phones during math classes, utilizing the graphing calculator function as opposed to purchasing an expensive calculator. Other students use their phones to write papers in English classes.
“When I visited Johnston, they allow their kids to utilize cell phones in the classrooms,” Board Member Galen Zumbach said. “It was obvious to me that a lot of kids, when I walked in a classroom, were paying much more attention to their cell phones than the teacher.”
At the high school, a first violation of the policy results in the phone being turned into the office with the student picking it up at the end of the day. A second violation results in a confiscation, along with a parent notification. Third violations require a parent or guardian picking up the phone after a confiscation. Fourth and subsequent violations results in a parent picking up the phone and in-school suspension for the student.
“We don’t get a lot of them sent to the office,” Messerole said. “We do have some repeat offenders who get to two or three. Usually, when the parent has to come in to pick them up, that helps. And, we’re dealing with a more mature student that, in a lot of instances, they know it’s going to be disruptive.”
“I was in high school classes in a couple of different schools and they indicated the office did not cooperate with them if they sent a kid to the office with a cell phone issue, so good for us for doing something about it,” Board Member Sharon Snodgrass said.
Messerole also updated the board on a couple of changes to the homecoming schedule during Monday’s meeting.
This year’s coronation and hall of fame ceremonies will be held Thursday, Sept. 20, in the evening.
“We did that two years ago. It looks like we’ll be able to do that every four years or every other year, depending on scheduling,” Messerole said. “A lot of people seemed to like that on Thursday night.”
Messerole said in years when it is possible to have the ceremony on Thursday night, the change will be made. The determining factor will be if the volleyball and cross country teams have competitions that night that would prevent those students from being able to participate in the ceremony on Thursday night.
The other change to this year’s homecoming schedule is the parade will start at 1:30 p.m. Friday instead of 2 p.m. That change is a result of varsity football games starting at 7 p.m. now instead of 7:30 p.m., which means the freshmen games also begin a half hour earlier at 4:15 p.m.