S-W school board looking to get phones out of the classroom

Sussex. The Sussex-Wantage School Board members agree students should not have their phones while they are in the classroom, but also don’t believe they should have it during lunch.

Sussex /
| 26 Sep 2022 | 02:42

The Sussex-Wantage School District Board of Education on Sept. 22 discussed what it could do to get cell phones out of the classroom.

Board of Education President Nick D’Agostino said all nine members of the school board agree it shouldn’t be in the classroom and shouldn’t be in lunch and said the Board of Education must work on a policy to reflect that.

Superintendent Michael Gall said at Wantage School, the rule is that it has to be in the student’s bookbag at all times, but the real focus is on dealing with use at Sussex Middle School.

D’Agostino said allowing students to have the phone in their pocket but turned off has been discussed.

“But then they have to go to the bathroom five times every class so they can use their phone in the bathroom, which takes away instruction time,” he said. “So, one of the suggestions was that when you come into class, you put it in a box.”

He said students shouldn’t be using them at all during class, but they currently are allowed to have them during lunch.

“I think lunch was like, if they have it during lunch, they are OK with not having it in class,” he said. “Me, personally, I don’t think they should have it during lunch. They should socialize during lunch and not be on their phones.”

Board of Education Vice President Dorothy Witte said students have been allowed free reign and the Policy Committee is trying to pull back and get the phones out of the classroom. She said the committee’s future goal is to get the phones out of lunch, as well.

“I believe it’s going to be a process that if you’re going to tell the kids, ‘No. it’s done,’ that’s not going to work either,” she said. “We’re implementing a lot more things during our lunch periods to give them, hopefully, ways to entice them to do other she said things than be on their phones.”

One of the suggestions was to let students go outside after they were done with their lunches.

Board of Education member Courtney de Waal Malefyt was in favor of having students shut them off at the beginning of the school day and not allow them to use it again until dismissal.

“When you walk out to your bus, you can pull your phone out when you’re on the bus,” she said. “But when you walk into school, you put the phone in your pocket, you put it in your backpack, you put it on vibrate the whole day and you could not pull it out.”