More Than 30 CCCHS Students Organize, Attend USD 379 Board Meeting, Advocate Against Changing Cell Phone Policy

By Quinn O’Hara

Photos by Quinn O’Hara

On the evening of May 13, more than 30 Clay Center Community High School students organized and attended the May USD 379 Board of Education Meeting to advocate against the changing of the District’s Cell Phone Policy. The students claim any changes to the policy would negatively impact their ability to learn to manage their time responsibly during the school day.

The current policy found in the CCCHS Student Handbook requires cell phones be

turned off during class time and while in the classroom. Students are allowed to use their phone during passing periods, during lunch in the commons, and before and after school.

Colten Tadtman, a CCCHS Junior, said he and many other students heard of the USD 379 Board’s intention to vote on updating the cell phone restriction policy in next year’s Student Handbook less than two hours before the meeting. He said he and other students organized through social media and word of mouth and encouraged fellow students to show up to demand the cell phone policy remain unchanged.

Raegann McDonald and Candace Lippe, both Juniors at CCCHS, prepared and read a speech against the changing of the policy during the citizens open forum section of the meeting. McDonald said a “one size fits all policy restricting students’ phone usage essentially teaches youth that someone is always going to hold their hand instead of allowing them to learn personal accountability.”

Lippe said a blanket ban on phones would negatively impact a student’s ability to function in life after high school.

Jace Weller, another Junior at CCCHS who attended the meeting, quoted the USD 379 Mission Statement, and said he felt similarly.

After two failed motions, the USD 379 Board voted 5-2 to direct the students of Lincoln Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Wakefield Elementary, Clay Center Community Middle School, and Wakefield Junior High, to keep phones turned off and in their backpacks or lockers during the school day. The Board then voted to table discussion of the CCCHS and Wakefield High School cell phone policy until their next meeting.

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