Policy governing mobile phones on campus in draft - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Policy governing mobile phones on campus in draft

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - In this day and age of technology, more and more students are bringing mobile devices with them on campus. Accordingly, the man in charge of the Department of Education has been tasked to establish a policy on cell phone use at public schools around the island. "I'd like to listen and gather their input and then set a policy that make sense. I think we know that cell phone use is a fixture in everyday life but now we need to figure out how it fits into our schools and our education system," said DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez.

At last week's Guam Education Board meeting, members requested that Fernandez set a consistent policy district-wide. But before he can set a policy, Fernandez will spend the next 60 days talking with stakeholders.

According to Vicente Benavente Middle School principal Dexter Fullo, the biggest problem with mobile phones at the Dededo campus occurs when they're stolen. Fullo adds that school officials won't conduct a school-wide search for personal items like cellular phones as its disruptive to instructional time.

"Specifically, here at BMS it's not a big issue the biggest issue we've had with cell phones is several of them got stolen, and we had to try to retrieve it. Last year that number I believe is less than ten. Sometimes we don't recover it and sometimes we do, but we let the students know that they bring at their own risk and we let the parents know, too," he said.

And although mobile phones are sometimes used to cheat, Fullo says it's more important to educate students on how to use such devices properly rather than ban them for campuses entirely. Said Fullo,"Cell phones are very much like cars. Nowadays you need cars. Cell phones are that way for the kids. And we need to recognize that and we need to work with it. We don't stop cars because people get into an accident we teach them how to use cars properly."

He also notes that mobile phones can be embraced at the school level as he's seeing teachers use them as part of lesson plans. "I think almost every ESLR deals with technology and preparing kids for the 21st Century for us its ‘adapting to changing times.' So we do have good teachers who use cell phones for surveys, we have a web site kids can access it, we need to start embracing it rather than pushing away from it," he explained.

Meanwhile, high school officials say students are often on social media services like Facebook posting status updates and pictures. Officials we spoke to said they were in favor of students keeping the phones for emergency purposes only but restricting their use during instructional time.

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