New policy allows for PED use during school
Along with a new principal, teachers, and a trailers, this year opened with a new school-wide personal electronic device policy. The policy seems to be well received thus far.
The policy allows students to use their electronic devices in designated areas around the school, determined by a three zone system.
The red zone indicates zero tolerance of electronic device use. Yellow zones permit only specified use of electronic devices during teacher instruction. Green zones allow appropriate device usage at any time.
Red zones are located in areas such as the hallway, while yellow zones usually include classrooms. The primary green zone is in the cafeteria.
This PED policy was first initiated last year under Principal Bruce Butler, deriving from external county desire. Principal Kim Retzer wanted to continue pursuing enactment of the policy.
“There is a small push from the school board to use electronics in a constructive way,” Retzer said. “It is important to have the kids use electronic devices in a productive and effective way, and I think this system does that.”
South Lakes was not the first school to implement such a policy. It used other FCPS schools’ policies as inspiration.
The red-yellow-green system was originally implemented by James Madison High School in Vienna. After much reported success, was later adopted by other schools.
Success with this PED policy is not only felt by the Warhawks at Madison, but by the Seahawk administration as well.
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” junior Valentina Golac said. “It’s helpful because we don’t have to worry about taking out computers and making a mess. It’s no longer a hassle.”
While students see only the efficacy of the policy, teachers find it both easy to teach with and as a motivational tool for students.
“I like that I have the ability to use that as a reward for hard work,” IB English teacher Jennifer Ashburn said. “I like how it no longer has to be a fight with students who think they deserve to have their phones out. It is also nice because we have such limited computer access and have the ability to ask students to take out their phones and look up its definition.”
Though this policy brings a certain ease to the administration, it carries a threat of mixing the cyber and school worlds to potentially create risky situations.
Cyber-bullying has always been a concern for all school districts. Every night students bring school home with them as they converse and share about life on the Internet.
This new policy, however, makes phones and Internet-accessible devices more readily available than before, making it easier for students to do this conversing not just at home, but at school.
Even with all the possible ramifications, Retzer still has faith in the policy.
“Cyber-bullying is a big issue,” Retzer said. “By being proactive about it and letting kids use their phones in a set time, I hope kids realize that this is a privilege. We set the rules and guidelines on the PED policy firmly, so I feel good about it. Nothing has happened so far, so I think as long as people keep this in mind we’ll be fine.”