Tough New Cell Phone Policy for Prince George's County Schools

Consequences include no phone for the entire school year

By Arlene Borenstein
|  Monday, Jun 21, 2010  |  Updated 3:15 PM EDT
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The passing of folded slips of paper used to be the common problem for teachers trying to keep students in line. Now, undercover text messaging is the new nightmare, so much so that the Prince George's County School Board has banned cell phone use during the school day and schools around the country are taking measures to deal with this new age note passing.

The school board has restricted the use of cell phones in the past, but this time the rules come with a set of consequences. If students don’t have their cell phone completely turned off, they will be confiscated for the day. (And just to clarify for parents, completely turned off doesn't mean vibrate or silenced or even lit up.)

That's just the first offense, though. Parents will have to go pick up their students' phones for second offenses. And if kids get caught with their phones turned on a third time -- no phone at school for the rest of the year.

Photos and videos taken by students on school property also may not be shared electronically.

Students, however, can get the permission of a teacher or coach if they need to use their cell phones after school.

The Washington Post spoke to the district's Board of Education Chair At-large about the ban:

"We know for a fact that the use of cellphones on school property around this country has led to a number of problems around safety," said Board of Education Chairman Verjeana M. Jacobs (At Large), citing issues of explicit text messages and videos of fights posted online -- one case of which happened just last week at Bowie High School. "It's a tough policy," Jacobs said. She added that the board worked with its attorney to be as strict as legally possible.

The Prince George's County ban is the strongest measure against cell phones in the Washington area, The Washington Post reported. 

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