Board adopts new cell phone policy

Board adopts new cell phone policy
Posted on 07/20/2022

Morganton, NC – Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Burke County Public Schools students will be required to follow a new cell phone policy when school starts on Aug. 29. Student cell phones will not be allowed in classrooms during instruction time, unless they are being used for instructional purposes. The new policy gives teachers authority to confiscate cell phones and turn them over to parents at the end of the school day.

The Burke County Board of Education updated the “Use of Wireless Communication Devices” policy at its special called meeting Thursday to address student cell phone use and loss of instructional time during the school day. Under the updated policy, cell phones and other wireless communication devices are permitted on school property but are prohibited from use during instructional hours without permission from teachers and administrators. Such devices shall not be activated, used, displayed or visible during the instructional day or as otherwise directed by school rules or school personnel.

The policy reads, in part: 

Administrators may authorize individual students to use wireless communication devices

for personal purposes when there is a reasonable need for such communication. Teachers

and administrators may authorize individual students to use the devices for instructional

purposes, provided that they supervise the students during such use and a clear instructional purpose is identified. At all other times, devices should be kept in a designated area of the classroom.

School employees shall immediately confiscate any wireless communication devices that are on, used, displayed or visible in violation of this policy. Absent compelling and unusual circumstances, confiscated wireless communication devices will be returned only to the student’s parent. The disciplinary consequences for violations of this policy shall be consistent with Section D of policy 4300, Student Behavior Policies.

School Consequences for all students are as follows:

a. First Offense: The electronic device shall be confiscated by the teacher. Notification shall be sent to the parent by the teacher. Parents may pick it up at the end of the school day from the teacher.

b. Second Offense: The electronic device shall be confiscated from the student and held in the office for parent pick up. The administration shall conference with the parent and student about appropriate use of devices and expectations of school procedures.

c. Third Offense(s): The electronic device shall be confiscated from the student and held in the office for parent pick up. The administration shall conference with the parent and student about how repeated disregard for this procedure will lead to other discipline as appropriate, which may include in-school and out-of-school suspension (i.e. insubordination, disrespect, inappropriate use of technology). The student will no longer be allowed to bring an electronic device to school

except as approved by a principal.

d. Subsequent offense(s): The electronic device shall be confiscated, and the parent shall be notified by an administrator. The parent may pick up the electronic device from the school office, and the student may receive additional days of in- school or out-of-school suspension as deemed appropriate by school administration.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan said, “This cell phone use policy was revised to deal with the overwhelming disruptions and discipline issues our classroom teachers face while trying to deliver instruction. Our principals have been informed of this policy change and will work with teachers on enforcing the policy. This policy has the full support of our Board of Education and Central Office and will be strongly enforced. We want parents and students to be aware of the policy and start having those tough conversations now as we prepare for a new school year.”

The full policy can be found at under the Board of Education Tab/Policy Manual/ 4318 Use of Wireless Communication Devices and 4300-R Student Code of Conduct.
In compliance with federal law, Burke County Public Schools administers all educational programs, employment activities, and admissions without discrimination against any person based on gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability.