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Potsdam relaxes cell phone rules at high school

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POTSDAM - Students council representative Emma LoMastro told board of education members Tuesday night that students at the high school are thankful for the opportunity to use their cell phones during lunch.

“We’re really excited about the new cell phone policy,” Ms. LoMastro said, referring to the newly implemented red, light, green light regulations.

High school Principal Joann Chambers was quick to point out that the new regulations aren’t technically a new policy, noting a policy change would require board action.

“The word policy gets thrown around quite a bit,” she said.

Superintendent Patrick H. Brady agreed.

“What they’re doing at the high school isn’t really policy, it’s procedure,” he said.

Mr. Brady said Ms. Chambers and her building leadership team reviewed the policy and ways they could make it work better in the high school.

“Students typically have their cell phones and use them regardless of policy,” Mr. Brady said.

After much discussion, he said the high school decided to implement new regulations with red signs displayed in areas where cell phones cannot be used, green signs in areas where they can be used and yellow signs in areas where they may be able to be used.

Mr. Brady said green zones include buses and the cafeteria with red zones making up the majority of the building, including hallways. Individual classrooms are marked as yellow zones, as use for educational purposes is up the discretion of each individual teacher.

“When you look at it, really the only change is they (students) can use them in the cafeteria now,” Mr. Brady said.

Ms. LoMastro, a freshman, said from her perspective students are doing a good job of policing each other, as they don’t want to lose cell phone use privileges.

“We want to make sure no one is using them outside the cafeteria, because then we will lose that right,” she said. “Basically, what we’re telling everyone is, ‘We know you really want to use them, but if you do (outside of the cafeteria) then we won’t be able to use them at all.’”

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