APS looks to add cell phone policy to student handbook

Albuquerque Public Schools is cracking down on cell phone use on campus and at school events. The district wants the rules about cell phone use, currently tucked away on the APS website, to be added to the student handbook for the coming year.

“We’re really trying to be more proactive about helping students understand appropriate use,” Shelly, Green, APS Executive Director of the Student, Family, and Employee Service Center, said.

The rules in the proposed update to the student handbook to be discussed Wednesday night state that phones cannot be used on school property or at school-sponsored events—from concerts to sports games—to access social media and other internet websites that are normally blocked on school computers.

“Kids can use their phones at sporting events, but we just ask them to be cautious, be judicious,” Green explained. “It’s something like, we don’t want them sexting.”

APS clarified that doesn’t mean they’ll ban the use of popular apps like Snapchat and Facebook at games and events.

“It’s still a bit weird that they have that as a rule,” Eldorado High School senior Genevieve Dominguez stated.

There’s even a clause in the rules that says students have to ask permission when taking photos of others on campus, and a proposed rule requests students put their phone away when speaking to others.

“That’s like common sense to be respectful and not have your phone out when someone’s directly talking to you,” Eldorado senior Natalia Hobson added.

Some students aren’t convinced the rules will help teens put their phones away.

“Students will do the opposite,” Hobson said.

Students still have to turn their phones off and keep them out of sight during the school day, except when a teacher allows them in class for school work or during lunch.

The district said other than the cell phone policy, there were no other changes made to the handbook for the coming year.

It’s not clear how staff will know if students are using inappropriate websites or social media platforms during school or at school events.

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