Teachers may have to set aside cell phones

By Katheran Wasson Published:

Frankfort Independent teachers and staff won’t be allowed to make personal phone calls or text messages during class time, if a new policy is approved next month.

Board of Education members gave first reading to the policy Tuesday, which says employees must save calls and text messages for their planning periods, lunch breaks or before or after school.

The board will likely vote on the issue at a meeting on Nov. 3, Chairman Paul Looney said.

Superintendent Rich Crowe says employee cell phone use is an issue in few Frankfort Independent classrooms – maybe 2 percent, he estimates. But the school board needs to have a written policy in place in case the problem grows, he said.

“I hear phones going off sometimes among staff people when they’ve got kids, and I want them to be aware – in writing – that we aren’t going to allow that,” he said.

Brad Hughes, spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, says very few school districts statewide have policies related to employees personal use of cell phones during class time.

That’s because most of the policies only come up when there’s a problem, he said. Principals may approach district administrators asking for a policy so they can prohibit cell phone use in their schools.

“It’s probably not a widespread problem across the state,” he said.

Fayette County Public Schools, for example, allows principals to set their own rules regarding cell phone use by teachers and staff.

That district’s policy says employees should ask friends and family to contact them through the school’s front office in case of emergency, and it discourages non-emergency contact during work hours.

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