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Frontier students would be able to use cellphones in school

Frontier Central students would be able to use their cellphones in some parts of school starting this fall, under changes in the code of conduct being considered by the School Board.

The change is an acknowledgment that the phones are legitimate learning devices, and perhaps a tacit acknowledgement that students have been taking cellphones to school for years.

But the use of the phones would be limited to common areas of the school, and they would be prohibited in the nurse’s office, locker rooms and lavatories.

Board members discussed how to keep the phones silent. The proposed change said the devices “should” be on silent mode.

Board Member David Patton suggested making the wording stronger, and the board settled on “it is expected all electronic devices be in silent mode.” Superintendent Bret Apthorpe said the district does not want to penalize students for a momentary lapse.

“All of us have been places when we have had our phones on by accident. Part of what we’re teaching kids is how to have phones in a public environment,” he said.

“If somebody is a repeat offender on this, then I think the administrator would have more discretion to administer some discipline,” said Mary Ann Costello, assistant superintendent of instruction.

Taking a photo or video of someone where privacy is expected, such as a locker room, or without permission will be prohibited.

There was a changing of the guard Tuesday on the School Board as Janet MacGregor Plarr was elected president over Patrick Boyle in the reorganization meeting.

The vote was 4-3, and returned Plarr to the position she held for two years before the 2014-15 school year. Boyle was president last year.

Martin Lalka was elected vice president in a 4-3 vote over Boyle, who also had been nominated for vice president. Voting for Plarr and Lalka were Thomas Best Jr. and Patton, while Larry J. Albert and Davis Podkulski supported Boyle.