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BOE Approves Changes to Student Cell Phone Use Policy

Posted July 17, 2019

HAGERSTOWN, MD (July 16, 2019) - The Washington County Board of Education (WCBOE) approved revisions to Policy JICJ, “Use of Personally-Owned, Electronic Devices” at the July 16, 2019 business meeting. The policy outlines the appropriate times and circumstances under which students can use their personal technology devices such as cell phones, tablets, computers, etc. in school and during the school day.

The Board decided to re-examine Policy JICJ in light of Washington County Public Schools’ (WCPS) Digital Learning Plan, which  provides iPads and Chromebooks to all students in 3rd through 12th grades for enriching classroom learning experiences. WCPS-owned devices provide all materials and resources necessary for instructional time, thereby eliminating the need for students to use their own technology.

Under the revised policy, personally-owned, electronic devices are to be kept out of sight and turned off during instructional time (class time). Use of a personally-owned, electronic device may be granted by a supervising adult during lunch time and in between classes. In addition, such devices may be used in an emergency situation as determined by a supervising adult. 

Due to confidentiality, privacy and legal considerations, a student may not use a personally-owned, electronic device to take photographs or record audio or video in school, during the school day or on a school bus. Personally-owned, electronic devices may be used on school buses as long as the use does not disrupt bus operations and safety.

These changes reflect the Board’s desire to prevent the use of personally-owned, electronic devices from disrupting the school day or being a distraction during instructional time when learning should be the focus. 

The WCBOE approved the first reading of revised Policy JICJ at the public business meeting on June 18, 2019. The policy was reviewed and revised at the public Policy Committee meetings on May 9, May 30, June 11 and June 25, 2019. 

The revised policy and FAQ can be found under Documents to the right of this page.