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3245 Policy – Students and Telecommunications Devices

Bellingham Public Schools supports PreK-12 students becoming skilled users of technology and information, which includes educating students regarding technology literacy and responsible, safe use of devices. The district will also make safety resources available for parents/guardians.

Students in grades 4-12 will have a district-provided device according to the 1:1 technology initiative schedule, lessening the need to use personal telecommunications devices, including cell phones, for learning.

High School: Student personal telecommunications devices may be turned on and operated before/after the regular school day and during lunch/passing periods, or in an emergency situation that involves imminent physical danger. School staff may also authorize the student to use a personal telecommunications device for instructional purposes or to facilitate parent/guardian communications. A parent/guardian may request that a school administrator authorize a child to use a personal telecommunications device in special circumstances. Other than the times and circumstances described above, personal telecommunications devices should be stored by the student in the student’s personal belongings to limit distraction, balance screen time, support healthy and safe school culture and learning environments, and encourage students to practice face-to-face, interpersonal communication skills.

Middle and Elementary School: Student personal telecommunications devices may be turned on and operated before and after the regular school day, during passing periods or times designated by school administration, or in an emergency situation that involves imminent physical danger. Staff may also authorize the student to use a personal telecommunications device for instructional purposes or to facilitate parent/guardian communications. A parent/guardian may request that a school administrator authorize a child to use a personal telecommunications device in special circumstances. Other than the times and circumstances described above, personal telecommunications devices should be stored by the student in the student’s personal belongings to limit distraction, balance screen time, support healthy and safe school culture and learning environments, and encourage students to practice face-to-face, interpersonal communication skills.

All students in possession of telecommunications devices, including, but not limited to personal cell phones, while on school property or while attending school-sponsored or school-related activities will observe the following conditions:

A. Students will not use telecommunication devices in a manner that poses a threat to academic integrity, disrupts the learning environment or violates the privacy rights of others;

B. Students will not send, share, view or possess pictures, text messages, emails or other material depicting sexually explicit conduct, as defined in RCW 9.68A.011, in electronic or any other form on a telecommunications device, while the student is on school grounds, at school sponsored events, or on school buses or vehicles provided by the district;

C. When a school official has reasonable suspicion, based on objective and articulable facts, that a student is using a telecommunications device in a manner that violates the law, school rules, or is contrary to the guidelines established above, appropriate actions will be taken to ensure a safe and appropriate learning environment is maintained.

D. When a student brings a cell phone or other telecommunications device to school or school-sponsored events, the student and the student’s parent/guardian consent to the search of the device when school officials have a reasonable suspicion, based on objective and articulable facts, that such a search will reveal a violation of the law or school rules. The scope of the search will be limited to the violation of which the student is accused. Content or images that violate state or federal laws will be referred to law enforcement;
E. Students are responsible for devices they bring to school. The district will not be responsible for loss, theft or destruction of devices brought onto school property or to school sponsored events.

Approved By: Greg Baker, Superintendent
Adopted: 07/17/18
Signature Date: 07/17/18
Approved: Superintendent Approved
Cross References: Content
 

Policy 3200 – Rights and Responsibilities

Policy 3226 – Interviews of Students on School Premises

Policy 3230 – Student Privacy and Searches

Policy 4310 – Relationships with Law Enforcement and Other Government Agencies


Management Resources: Content
 

Policy News, October 2010 Students and Telecommunications Devices Revisited