Sherman ISD considers pros and cons of cell phone use at school

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - Because most students today have cell phones, Sherman ISD is looking at the best way to balance phone use in school.

The handbook said students are allowed to have their phones during the day, they just have to be off unless they are being used for approved instructional purposes.

District officials said before they make any decisions, they are looking at how other districts across the nation handle student cell phone use.

Assistant Superintendent at Sherman ISD, Tamy Smalskas, said the discussion on cell phone use started at the district's school board meeting Monday.

"Using them, using them appropriately, when to use them in the classroom, when to put them away, when not to use them, even from the perspective of parents some of the dangers that can be involved with using them too much," Smalskas said.

Smalskas said they're gathering a group of parents, teachers, students and administrators to research the best policies and review the pros and cons.

Data used in the presentation, compiled by another district, says 61 percent of middle school students and 81 percent of high schoolers own cell phones.

"We're going to look at what other school districts are doing, we're going to look at best practices, what is it that we're all together wanting to accomplish as a community," Smalskas said.

Ashley Nelson said her nephews are 13 and 16-years-old, and it makes her feel better to know they have a way to get in touch with family.

"As long as it's in a proper place, at a proper time, in emergencies they need their phones you know," Nelson said.

Smalskas said the district does not plan to ban cell phones, they just want to find a balance between using them as a learning tool and keeping them from being a distraction.

Nelson agrees there should be regulations.

"They shouldn't have them all the time, just maybe in their backpack or locker," Nelson said.

But she believes the pros of allowing cell phones in the classroom outweigh the cons.

"What if there's an emergency, really, there's just so much technology that could help advance learning," Nelson said.

Smalskas said the goal is to get a plan in place for the next school year.