Away for the Day
Over the past couple of years, we have noticed a large increase in negative student behavior due to the influence of social media and constant distractions created by cell phones. Some of the negative behaviors include: peer to peer conflict via electronic means which continues throughout the school day and overnight; students taking photos or videos of others without their knowledge and posting to social media; inappropriate use by photographing or videoing others in the bathroom; attempts to complete social media “challenges” which cause danger and/or damage to self or property; cyberbullying via social media of classmates and/or employees; and many other such examples.
Beginning this August, all middle school students in Gwinnett County Public Schools will be issued a Chromebook to keep and use for instructional purposes. Students will no longer have any instructional reason to rely on a cell phone as their “device” needed for school. Due to the increased negative behaviors mentioned above, coupled with no student being at an educational disadvantage due to the 1:1 Chromebook initiative, we felt this was the best time to institute this change in cell phone expectations.
Therefore, beginning this upcoming school year, Jones will institute a practice of “Away for the Day” as it relates to cell phones. Upon arrival, students are expected to turn their phones off (or on silent) and store it in their bookbag (not on their person). Cell phones will remain in their bookbag for the duration of the day. They can no longer be used as a calculator, to listen to music during individual work time, for use to access their student ID, etc. Students will be issued a school ID with a barcode for use for breakfast, lunch, and media center checkout. Additionally, students are expected to have WIRED earbuds daily to accompany their district-issued Chromebook for any necessary instructional purpose. Bluetooth or wireless headphones/earbuds are no longer allowed. In summary, there is no need for students to have any personal electronic devices while at school. However, if they do have a device, it should remain away for the day. If a personal device of any kind is lost or stolen, the school is not responsible for restitution nor are we obligated to investigate. If a student needs to contact home for any reason, they may do so from any office within the school.
We ask for your support as we move forward with this “Away for the Day” approach. We are hopeful that this, along with other supports, will help provide a safer environment for students and will allow us to continue to pursue excellence in academic knowledge, skills, and behavior for each student.