Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco County School Board wants to get tough on cell phone use

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco School Board members want to get tough on cell phone use in schools.

They're hoping to get some rule changes pushed through with the new student code of conduct that takes effect in August. Board members will have the first of two public hearings on the code today.

As proposed, the updated version will highlight state law banning phones and electronic devices from rooms where students are taking the FCAT. A handful of teens had their tests invalidated last week for failing to comply.

The changes also would prohibit students from using their phone or other personal technology that can access the Internet to visit Web sites that would not make it through the district filters.

"Even though you're not on our network, you still have to follow our rules," said Ruth Reilly, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Those proposals don't go far enough, board vice chairman Allen Altman said.

"My focus on the cell phone stuff comes from students who are good, honest kids who feel that there's some misuse of electronic devices that some kids are using to their advantage," Altman said. "I want students and teachers to know if those devices are used to gain an unfair advantage, it's cheating and the repercussions will be tough."

Other board members conveyed similar sentiments during a recent workshop on district policy. Student services director Lizette Alexander said she's working to further revise the proposal.

One idea is to extend the phone ban from the FCAT testing room to all rooms where testing is under way.

Of equal importance, though, is the need to tackle the root problem, Alexander suggested.

"The issue of dishonesty has always been with us," she said. "Technology facilitates it. I think what we have to do is work on academic honesty."

The code of conduct update also adds a few other new rules.

Hazing — defined as "any action or situation which coerces another including the victim to perform any act which causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm" — is explicitly banned for the first time.

Bullying is more tightly defined, in following the state's new antibullying law.

Distribution of illegal substances is specifically stated as grounds for disciplinary action, as are use and possession.

The book appears to get rid of the ban on gum chewing in schools — it's crossed off the list of inappropriate behavior. But Reilly said gum remains off-limits. It's just been incorporated into the broader prohibition on "materials that are inappropriate for an educational setting."

"It gets everywhere," she said. "It's a mess."

The School Board will have its first reading of the student code of conduct during its meeting today, which begins at 9:30 a.m. It will have to review the item one other time before it takes effect.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

Fast facts

Proposed student code of conduct updates

• Banning cell phones and electronic devices from rooms where students are taking the FCAT.

• Hazing is explicitly banned for the first time.

• Rules about bullying follow the state's new antibullying law.

• Distribution of illegal substances is grounds for disciplinary action, as are use and possession of illegal substances.

• Gum chewing becomes part of the broader prohibition on "materials that are inappropriate for an educational setting."

Pasco County School Board wants to get tough on cell phone use 03/15/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 15, 2009 7:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.