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Ripon Unified limits student cell phone use

The Ripon Unified school board acknowledged the importance of students having mobile communication devices.

Smartphones and other such devices may be beneficial to students when it comes to learning along with their well-being. But these devices could also be disruptive to the instructional program, in some cases.

This Board Policy update was part of a public hearing and first reading at the Jan. 13 meeting. Included were several changes on limiting the use of mobile communication devices on campus in accordance with the law and the following policies – Comprehensive Safety Plan, Bullying, Student Disturbances, Academic Honesty, Positive School Climate, Suicide Prevention and Student Use of Technology.

Students, for starters, may use their cell phones, smart watches and other such device on campus during non-instructional time as long as the device is utilized in accordance with the law.

They’re to be turned off during instructional time, with some exceptions:

*In case of an emergency or in response to a perceived threat or danger.

*When a teacher or administrator grants them permission to possess or use the mobile communication device subject to any reasonable limitation by the instructor or administrator.

*When a licensed physician or surgeon determines that possession or use is necessary for the student’s health or well-being.

*When possession or use is required by the student’s individualized education program.

The policy also protects a person’s privacy rights and allows for school officials – they must reasonably suspect that a student’s mobile communication device will turn up evidence of a violation to the law or school rules – to confiscate a device in accordance with the “Search and Seizure” board policy.

District employees may confiscate any mobile communication device from a student for disciplinary reasons – they must prove that the student was using the phone in an unauthorized manner.

The policy, in addition, said: “A student may also be subject to discipline, in accordance with law, board policy or administrative regulation, for off-campus use of a mobile communication device which poses a threat or danger to the safety of students, staff, or district property or substantially disrupts school activities.”