Come September, students in one New York school district will no longer be able to use their cell phones during the school day.
Do you support the Middletown School District's new cell phone policy?
In Orange County, the Enlarged City School District of Middletown announced a “refreshed” set of expectations regarding cell phone use in schools for the 2022-2023 school year.
Among the most notable changes, students will no longer have access to their phones at any point during the school day, including during lunch periods.
Students will be required to shut off their phones and keep them stored away, the district said. Phones will also be prohibited during passing periods.
“Our goal continues to be providing each of our young people with opportunities to learn and grow in an optimal academic-focused environment,” Superintendent Amy Creeden said.
“To do this, we need to ensure we are working together to make safety a priority and limit as many distractions as practicable.”
Creeden said cell phones will also be prohibited in any classroom or location where an assessment is being administered.
She issued a direct plea to parents for their help in enforcing the new policy.
“In order for our collective school community to rally around our vision, we need your support,” Creeden said. “We are providing this communication early in the summer so our families and young people have time to plan.”
Creeden said office staff will deliver urgent messages to students in the event of an emergency. Students who need to call home will be sent to the office.
“Our young people will be expected to engage with these expectations in positive ways and follow the guidelines we have outlined,” Creeden said.
Students who violate the new rules could have their phones taken by school staff and they will only be returned to a parent or guardian.
“Cell phones will not be handed back to a scholar after it is collected,” Creeden said.
Reactions to the new policy were mixed on social media, with some expressing concerns it could lead to delays during emergencies such as a school shooting.
“I don’t agree,” Sharon Bell, of Newburgh, wrote on Facebook. “With all the shootings, fights, kids need cell phones to call 911. The kids need to feel safe.”
Others agreed the move was necessary to help curb distractions in the classroom.
“If there is an emergency the kids can still get to their phones, I think that’s what’s important,” said Kelly Hall-Bissinger . “Otherwise there is no need for a cell phone at school.”
Classes at Middletown City Schools resume Tuesday, Sept. 6.
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