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Peekskill Schools Grapple With Changing Media

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – As technology quickly changes, faculty and staff in the Peekskill City School District find themselves working to change with it.

At Wednesday's Board of Education meeting administrators and school board members discussed the role that mobile phones and other mobile devices should play in the district's schools.

The Code of Conduct Committee, which is made up of faculty, administrators and students, has been asked to address the issue of cell-phone use in the secondary schools.

Mobile phones are a distraction that needs to be addressed, said Maxine O'Connor, director of pupil personnel services.

"Electronic devices have begun to create a significant problem in the high school, because the students were not complying with the regulations we had enacted," she said.

The committee has recommended that starting in the fall, mobile electronic devices be restricted to the cafeteria only.

The district is also working to adapt to the world of social media networks. The district operates both Facebook and Twitter accounts, which it uses to get information to students and their parents. The accounts are managed by high school teacher Anita Prentice, who also handles public relations for the district.

Prentice said the district has rules in place for how social media accounts are handled by district employees to ensure that there is no inappropriate contact with students. However, such tools are becoming increasingly valuable in communicating with students who may not otherwise be reachable, she said.

"Many students don't even use email anymore," Prentice said.

Prentice said she once had to use Facebook to contact a student to remind him of a test he needed to take to graduate.

"He thanked me and said if I hadn't sent him the message he would have forgotten all about it," she said.

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