Skip to Content

Putnam School Board Approves New Phone Policy; Phones Up During Class

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam School Board Approves New Phone Policy; Phones Up During Class

Putnam County School Board approved a new cell phone policy that will limit middle and high school student access during class time.

Students will be required to place their phones in pockets located near the door of each classroom at the start of the class period. Students can pick up the phone at the end of class and will have access between classes, before school and during lunch periods.

“It’s interesting how we call it social media and yet it takes away for a lot of kids, a lot of our students, to be able to function socially,” School Board Member Lynn McHenry said. “So this is one step to hope, to progress, to get them to be able to interact, interact more, for sure.”

School Board Chair Kim Cravens said she wants teachers and administrators to understand the board is focused on the policy and wants to see it enforced.

“I expect the rules to be followed by everybody all the time,” Cravens said. “And I think if they do that from the get go that it should go pretty well. So hopefully everybody is bought in and if they’re not, they’re going to need to get there.”

The board discussed the idea at work sessions earlier this year. A committee of middle and high school administrators then looked at options. Director of Schools Corby King said they decided against locking up phones all day, based on parent concerns about emergencies.

Cravens said concern about the mental health impacts of social media, one of the main drivers behind the change.

“I think that this is a really good step for our school system,” Cravens said. “I think that it’s easy to see that mental illness has really taken a toll and social media is a big blame on that.”

King said the policy should also allow students to better focus on learning.

“There are some guidelines, some behavior guidelines, consequences and things that go along with this,” King said. “But it will be every classroom teacher, students, everyone expected to follow the policy and be off their phones, have the phones put up and away while they’re in class and hopefully focused on instructional learning.”

King said they also need parents to support the efforts. Parents can still reach students between classes and if an emergency happens, the phones will be available in the classroom. Cravens said parents can also call the school, joking that worked for generations of parents.

The school system has ordered the pocket holders to be placed in each classroom. The policy goes into effect when school opens next month.


The post Putnam School Board Approves New Phone Policy; Phones Up During Class appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.