Dothan City Schools releases new draft of cell phone policy for upcoming school year

Dothan schools have new cell phone policy

DOTHAN, Ala. (WSFA) - Dothan City School leaders released a new draft of the cell phone policy for the upcoming school year.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the system posted the draft online for the community to review. The new draft is less restrictive on cell phone use for students than the first draft.

If this policy is approved by the school board, Dothan City School students:

  • Can’t have phones during school hours. Phones can be used before or after school.
  • Can’t use phones to record at school functions or events.
  • Can use phones during bus rides, but the phones must remain on silent or vibrate.
  • Depending on special circumstances, schools could allow students to use phones for classroom work or if there is a family emergency.

If a student violates the policy, the student’s phone will be confiscated and a parent will have to come to the school to retrieve the phone. A second violation, a student’s refusal to give administration the phone, or distribution/presentation of videos that are illegal, disruptive, or forms of bullying could result in 90 days at PASS Academy.

Students who are guilty of this level of violation will no longer be allowed to have a phone on campus for the rest of the year and may be subject to random searches to ensure they are in compliance.

One thing eliminated from the second draft policy is the $25 administration fee if a phone is confiscated.

Scott Faulk, Safety, Security, and Attendance Director for Dothan City Schools, says the system received concerns from parents about the first draft, so they decided to make changes. He says rules need to be implemented, but it’s about finding the right fit.

“Being in this position for 24 years, I do believe that changes have to be made for the safety and security and the well being of children - especially here in Dothan City Schools, but in all schools,” said Faulk.

He says the decision to create a stricter cell phone use policy was based on the need to limit distractions in the classroom and ensure safety - but the system didn’t want to limit communication between students and parents.

“We talked about football, band, and how sometimes they would get home later and parents want to keep in contact,” said Faulk. “And parents concerned about not being at home when they arrive from school and being in contact that way. We looked at a whole spectrum when it came to the whole cell phone policy.”

Parents and students will have an opportunity to weigh in on the new draft before it’s voted on by the school board.

There will be parent meetings July 29 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Beverlye Magnet.

The school board hopes to vote on a final draft before the beginning of the school year.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.