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Olean schools regulate use of electronic devices

OLEAN – Students in the Olean City School District are bringing electronic communication devices to school in ever-increasing numbers, and new language in the student code of conduct offers a chance for those devices to be used in school.

The policy creates three color-coded zones in school buildings – red, yellow, and green – to regulate the use of such devices.

Usage would be prohibited in “red” areas, according to Superintendent Colleen Taggerty.

“Red would be places like restrooms, locker rooms and other areas that there should be an expectation of privacy,” she said.

However, that could be modified by a teacher in cases where the device would be used for instruction. Teacher policy will be posted in each room. The full list of areas in this zone include instructional classrooms, locker rooms, restrooms and hallways during class periods.

“Yellow” zones would be limited-use areas. The policy allows students to use the devices in areas like the library. Hallway use is limited to between classes and for texting and monitoring only. The use of the audio component of the device is still prohibited, and that includes using headphones.

“Green” zones will be areas like the senior commons, lunchroom, study halls and homeroom, and students are allowed to use phones until the morning announcements, according to the policy.

Students who violate the policies will have their use of the device revoked for a period of five or 10 weeks, depending on the number of offenses.

On the fourth offense, a student loses the privilege to use the device completely for the year.

“We are looking toward ways to use the devices as learning tools,” Taggerty said. “As we do, we have to have policy to regulate the usage during school.”

The School Board unanimously approved the new code – including other changes to update language and add clarity – after a public hearing.