Hillsboro schools not taking phones during lockdowns

Superintendent says students should not use phones during lockdowns

By Jeff Gilliland - jgilliland@aimmediamidwest.com



Despite social media rumors to the contrary, the Hillsboro City Schools have no plans to take cell phones from students during times when the schools are on lockdown.

However, superintendent Tim Davis said Thursday that students are being asked not to use their cell phones during those times.

“We’re not taking cell phones, we’re just promoting not to use them,” Davis said.

The superintendent said the following points of emphasis were presented to the school district’s staff and students this week:

• Cell phones should not be in use during a code “red” or “green” lockdown.

• Do not message your parents to pick you up during a drill or emergency situation. Additional traffic impedes emergency personnel from doing their job.

• Cell phones are not permitted to be used during a drill.

• It is important not to spread rumors about the impending situation.

• Parents will be notified by the school when and where to pick you up should the reunification process be necessary.

Davis said that a red lockdown is when teaching stops, and students and staff take cover and get out of sight. He said a green lockdown is when teaching continues, but the school district does not want students in the halls.

In the event that there was an actual shooter on campus, Davis said he understands that the situation may change. In that case, he said the school goes on either lockdown or evacuation, depending on where a shooter would be located and exactly what was happening.

But he said it would still be good if students did not use cell phones until things settled down so they can be sure they correctly hear and understand all directions being given to them.

Following are some of the school district’s other policies in regard to the use of cell phones or personal communication devices:

• Students may use personal communication devices (PCDs) before and after school, during their lunch break, in between classes as long as they do not create a distraction, disruption or otherwise interfere with the educational environment, during after school activities or extracurricular activities at school-related functions. Use of PCDs, except those approved by a teacher or administrator, at any other time is prohibited and they must be powered completely off (not just placed into vibrate or silent mode) and stored out of sight.

• PCDs include computers, tablets (iPads and similar devices) electronic readers (e-readers, Kindles and similar devices), cell phones (mobile/cellular telephones), smartphones (BlackBerry, iPhone, Android devices, Windows Mobile devices, etc.), and/or other web-enabled devices of any type. Students may not use PCDs on school property or at a school-sponsored activity to access and/or view Internet websites that are otherwise blocked to students at school. Students may use PCDs while riding to and from school on a school bus or other board-provided vehicles or on a school bus or board-provided vehicle during school-sponsored activities, at the discretion of the bus driver, classroom teacher sponsor/adviser/coach. Distracting behavior that creates an unsafe environment will not be tolerated.

• Also, during after school activities, PCDs shall be powered completely off (not just placed into vibrate or silent mode) and stored out of sight when directed by the administrator or sponsor.

• Under certain circumstances, a student may keep his/her PCD “on” with prior approval from the building principal.

• Except as authorized by a teacher, administrator or IEP team, students are prohibited from using PCDs during the school day, including while off-campus on a field trip, to capture, record and/or transmit the words or sounds and/or images of any student, staff member or other person. Using a PCD to capture, record and/or transmit audio and/or pictures/video of an individual without proper consent is considered an invasion of privacy and is not permitted. Students who violate this provision and/or use a PCD to violate the privacy rights of another person may have their PCD confiscated. If the violation involves potentially illegal activity, the confiscated PCD may be turned over to law enforcement.

• PCDs, including but not limited to those with cameras, may not be activated or utilized at any time in any school situation where a reasonable expectation of personal privacy exists. The superintendent and building principals are authorized to determine specific locations and situations where use of a PCD is absolutely prohibited.

• Students shall have no expectation of confidentiality with respect to their use of PCDs on school premises/property.

• Students may not use a PCD in any way that might reasonably create in the mind of another person an impression of being threatened, humiliated, harassed, embarrassed or intimidated. In particular, students are prohibited from using PCDs to: (1) transmit material that is threatening, obscene, disruptive, or sexually explicit or that can be construed as harassment or disparagement of others based upon their race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, ancestry, or political beliefs; and (2) engage in “sexting” – i.e., sending, receiving, sharing, viewing, or possessing pictures, text messages, emails or other materials of a sexual nature in electronic or any other form. Violation of these prohibitions shall result in disciplinary action. Furthermore, such actions will be reported to local law enforcement and child services as required by law.

• Students are also prohibited from using a PCD to capture, record, and/or transmit test information or any other information in a manner constituting fraud, theft, cheating or academic dishonesty. Likewise, students are prohibited from using PCDs to receive such information.

• Possession of a PCD by a student at school during school hours and/or during extracurricular activities is a privilege that may be forfeited by any student who fails to abide by the terms of this policy, or otherwise abuses this privilege.

• Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action and/or confiscation of the PCD. The building principal will also refer the matter to law enforcement or child services if the violation involves an illegal activity (e.g., child pornography, sexting). Discipline will be imposed on an escalating scale ranging from a warning to an expulsion based on the number of previous violations and/or the nature of or circumstances surrounding a particular violation. If the PCD is confiscated, it will be released/returned to the student’s parent/guardian after the student complies with any other disciplinary consequences that are imposed, unless the violation involves potentially illegal activity in which case the PCD may be turned over to law enforcement.

• A person who discovers a student using a PCD in violation of this policy is required to report the violation to the building principal.

• Students are personally and solely responsible for the care and security of their PCDs. The board assumes no responsibility for theft, loss, or damage to, or misuse or unauthorized use of PCDs brought onto its property.

• Parents/guardians are advised that the best way to get in touch with their child during the school day is by calling the school office.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or jgilliland@aimmediamidwest.com.

Superintendent says students should not use phones during lockdowns

By Jeff Gilliland