LCHS 7/8 Principal’s Call: Stow Your Cellphones

La Cañada High School 8th-graders are in for an adjustment when they return to school in August.
They’ll have to put their phones down.
For the 2018-19 school year, LCHS 7/8 will no longer allow students to have cellphones out during the school day, Principal Jarrett Gold said.
He informed families of the new rule in an email last week that detailed the new policy banning the use of mobile phones, portable music and handheld gaming devices between
8:30 a.m. and 3:14 p.m. each school day.
“Personal mobile device use shall be prohibited during the instructional day, unless permitted and directly supervised by a teacher in the classroom for instructional purposes only,” Gold wrote. He added: “Students may use personal mobile devices before and after school and at school-related events, providing they are not disruptive to the event. If a disruption occurs, an employee may direct the student to turn off the mobile device and/or confiscate the device until the end of the day or activity.”
So far, the new policy has met with overwhelming approval from parents, Gold said.
“I sent the email out a week and a half ago,” Gold said. “I expected some positive feedback and some negative feedback. I probably received between 50 and 60 emails, and not one was negative. Every single one is positive. Parents saying, ‘Thank you for doing this,’ and ‘It’s been a long time coming,’ and ‘When is the high school going to follow suit?’”
Administrators will evaluate how the new policy works at LCHS 7/8 before they make any decisions about high school policy, Gold said.
He also said he expects incoming 7th-graders, who didn’t use their phones during school hours on their elementary campuses, will have an easier time with the new rule than 8th-graders, who grew accustomed to having access to them last year.
“Kids won’t want it,” he said. “But sometimes, adults have to make decisions for the kids.”
Gold said he and other district administrators were prompted by parents to explore implementing the policy, which is similar to those in the San Marino and South Pasadena school districts.
“A lot of the problems I have in my office are because of phones and social media and a lot of that happens during school time, whether that’s cheating or bullying,” Gold said.
“So we started thinking about it, and asking, ‘What are the positives that come out of cellphones?’ We realized there’s no need to have cellphones.”
Gold said he expects it will take at least a year for students to adjust to the policy, which bears a series of consequences for those who don’t follow it.
For a first offense, the cellphone will be confiscated for the day and parents will be notified. In the case of a second offense, the phone will confiscated for the day, parents will be contacted and students will receive lunch detention. For the third offense, the cellphone will be confiscated for the day, parents will be called and students can receive time in Saturday School. For infractions after that, students can be suspended.
If parents need to contact their student during the school day, Gold said, they’re welcome to call the office, where there also will be a cellphone “safe zone” in case a student has an emergency and needs to make a call.
Gold said he’s also hoping to keep students from spending their lunch and snack breaks on their phones.
“We’re trying to combat that with intramural sports, we’re going to have a ping-pong table, pop-up recess with cornhole and other games and a giant Jenga board, just trying to get kids to be a little more active,” Gold said.

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