Kaiser High limits cell-phone use
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Writer
HAWAI'I KAI Beginning next week, Kaiser High School students must keep their cell phones turned off during class time or risk having them confiscated.
Under a policy adopted Jan. 5 by the high school's School Community Based Management Council, all cell phones must be off during instructional or class time, including field trips and other out-of classroom activities. Students may use their phones during lunch and recess. The policy goes into effect Jan. 20.
"It's a good plan," said Sylvia Gideon, a Parent Teacher Student Association member. "There are some students who use the phone during classtime. The school is being forced to create a policy to teach phone etiquette."
The school and the council, made up of parents, administrators, students and members of the community, have been crafting a cell phone policy since August, said Kate Raff, a parent representative on the council. The school felt it was necessary to establish clear guidelines to eliminate the disruption of ringing cell phones in class and to prevent students from being distracted or using their phones to cheat.
Notices will be given to each of the 1,100 students at Kaiser, and information will be printed in the school's monthly parent bulletin.
Students caught using a phone or having a phone on will receive a warning the first time, said Tony Gayer, Kaiser vice principal. The second time the phone will be confiscated and turned over to the administration, and arrangements will be made with the student for its retrieval. After the third offense the phone will be taken away for a week and parents will be called to make arrangements to pick it up. The fourth time a student is caught during classtime with a cell phone that is not turned off, the administration may keep the phone for an extended period of time that may be until the end of the school year. Parents also will be notified.
During the development of the policy, students were continually informed and given the opportunity for input. Ultimately, what started out as a complete ban was revised to allow students to use cell phones during recess and lunch, Raff said.
"The best input came from the students," Raff said. "They took it very seriously."
But not all students think the policy is necessary. Taryn Ino, a Kaiser senior, believes that each student should be held responsible and keep their phones on, but silent. The cell phones, when they do ring in class, can be disruptive.
"I don't use my phone in class, but I like to have it on in case someone needs to reach me in an emergency or with something important," Ino said.
Reach Suzanne Roig at firstname.lastname@example.org or 395-8831.