News 12 First at Five, April 17, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tonight (Thursday, April 17) the Richmond County School Board will vote on a proposed pilot program to allow cell phones on school grounds at four local high schools.
Under the current policy, students are not allowed to have cell phones on campus period. If students are cauth with one, it is confinscated for 365 days.
That's a policy not all parents agree with. "With all the school shootings and all kind of emergencies, it's good that the kids have them on them." says parent Felicia Scott.
Scott should know a thing or two about the cell phone policy, her eighth grader was caught red handed with hers last year. "It's ridiculous because a lot of times they don't return cell phones and if you're under contract, then that's just a lost phone, still having to pay for something you don't have."
School Board member Jack Padgett says Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden sees the current policy as "antiquated" and that's why he is looking to change it.
"Personally, I won't support it." says Padgett.
"It" being the new pilot program, a proposal for four high schools, A.R. Johnson, Hephzibah, Westside, and Butler High School to allow students to bring cell phones to school, as long as they are not on or in use during school hours.
"If there were to be a problem, I can imagine every kid pulling out their cell phone and jamming all the lines." Padgett explains as part of his vote against the proposal.
Padgett says he understands parents wanting to keep in touch with their children, but he fears a policy change could create chaos. "Lead to more disciplinary problems, more tribunals, more problems so I just don't think it's a good idea. I think people can live without a phone in their ear."
It's not a done deal just yet. The school board has to approve the proposal and another committee will then reevaluate the punishment policy for students who violate the new rules if and when they are in place.
Stay tuned to News 12 at 11 to see what the School Board decided.