WINDSOR LOCKS — In an effort to help students re-acclimate to in-person learning, Windsor Locks High School is now requiring that they put cellphones away during classroom time.
The policy went into effect on Monday.
Calls to the high school today regarding the policy were referred to Superintendent of Schools Shawn Parkhurst.
The policy was not sprung on the students suddenly but, rather, explained during meetings that Windsor Locks Principal Rebecca Bissonnette had with every class, Parkhurst said today. He said it was an opportunity for students to ask questions well before the policy went into effect on Monday.
He didn’t know if there had been any violations of the policy on Monday or complaints from students.
In an Oct. 15 letter to the parents of high school students, Bissonnette said that because the high school is fortunate to provide each student with a school-issued device such as an iPad or computer, cellphones are not necessary during instructional time and will no longer be permitted from the beginning to the end of each class period.
She wrote that, beginning on Monday, Oct. 25, students would be asked to keep cellphones in their backpacks or lockers, or they would be collected at the start of class. However, students would be allowed to use their cellphones during passing time from class to class and during lunch, she said.
Parkhurst said that during the COVID-19 pandemic students spent 18 months away from their classmates and classrooms due to remote learning. During those months, they were reduced to connecting with others solely through electronic devices, he said.
“The administration looked at the need for kids to re-acclimate and be together rather than completely engrossed in electronic devices,” he said. “This is to help them learn how to be part of a group again and help them with their mental health.”
In her letter, Bissonnette outlined what will happen should a student be seen using a personal electronic device such as a cellphone, smartwatch, or iPad during classroom time.
For the first offense, the classroom teacher will take the device, put it in an envelope and have security bring it to the main office until the student can redeem it at the end of the school day.
For a second offense, the device will be returned only to a parent or guardian, and the student will receive an office detention.
For the third offense, the teacher will place the student’s device in an envelope and have security bring it to the main office. A family meeting will be scheduled to devise a plan for the student, and the student will receive a one-day in school suspension.
Bissonnette advised parents in her letter that they can call the main office in case of an emergency where they need to reach their children during class time. She also advised that parents can reach out to her if they have any questions about the policy, which she wrote mirrors the one at the middle school.
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