New cell phone policy for Aiken County students

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News 12 First at Five, August 20, 2007

AIKEN CTY,S.C.---Everything is running pretty smoothly today in Aiken County. Summer is over! The time is here to put away the sunglasses and enter into the classrooms, with an open mind and some new policies.

So goodbye summer, hello assignments and a stricter cell phone policy for Aiken County Schools.

North Augusta High School students got the 411 on their personal calls this morning.

"If its an active use of a phone, there is a severe penalty. If its a passive use, where someone actually calls you, it's a lesser penalty. Nevertheless, cell phones are not to be used at school," says North Augusta Principal Kyle Smith.

That's a policy now being used across the board in Aiken County. Last year, it was up to the school to make their own cell phone rule.

Smith adds, an active violation means, "he's going to be suspended and have his phone confiscated for a minimum of 20 school days."

For a passive violation, Smith says, "He receives a ten day loss of privileges of a cell phone. We confiscate it for 10 days."

What time is it? That's a question you better not use your cell phone to answer.

"The whole thing about just looking at the time, sorry. It has to be out of sight, out of mind. All the time," says Chemistry teacher Betsy Luquire.

Chris Emerling says the warning signs of cell phone use are hard to detect because kids are getting more and more clever.

"The girls will look to hide it in their purses fiddling in their purses. The boys a lot of times will have it out by their pocket underneath the desk and look down at it."

Emerling says the best way to call out illegal use is to look for students simply not paying attention.

No problems we know of on the first day. This new policy is in effect at the high and middle schools. The phones are allowed to be used during non-school hours, but not while riding the bus.

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