Local News

Coeur d'Alene School District rethinking cell phone policy

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The Coeur d'Alene School District is re-thinking their school policy regarding cell phones, after social media threats sparked a discussion about their in-school use.

The district is trying to balance classroom focus with student safety. They've tried a zero tolerance cell phone policy in the past, but Tech Director Seth Deniston said a new policy won't necessarily ban cell phones in schools.

Instead, the school board will look at how a cell phone can be used in the classroom, with teacher discretion, and for educational purposes.

The board will try and decide if phones should be allowed in classrooms, in hallways, and even at lunch.

The district offered a survey on cell phone use in schools, which returned over 2,000 responses.

More than 700 of those were from students. In that survey, 62.8 percent of staff surveyed said they feel phones are a distraction. The majority of students said phones were a communication device or a learning tool. Most parents were divided between considering phones a communication device or a distraction.

In comments given, some staff members argued that phones do have the ability to get in the way of student learning, but that a ban on the devices was, and would be, a nightmare to enforce.

Many parents stressed the need for a means to communicate with their children in the case of an emergency. But many didn't feel the same urgency about social media access during the school day. 

And students, largely, were not in favor of restricting use.

One argued that they should at least be able to use phones outside the classroom, and inside if a teacher okays it.

The board is looking at the survey results and a policy draft, and will continue after the holiday break.