Milwaukee Public Schools will allow cell phones in schools this fall as long as it’s for an approved educational purpose.
Difficulty enforcing the ban, implemented in 2007, was a reason for the policy change according to MPS Spokesman Phil Harris. He says parents also complained about not being able to communicate with their kids and determine their whereabouts, such as prior to afterschool activities. This led to some schools asking for exemptions from the district wide ban.
MPS banned cells after a couple of incidents in which students were calling for backup in fights. The new policy says if a student uses their cell to call for reinforcements, the phone can be confiscated and turned over to police.
With the “approved educational purposes” provision, Harris says this opens up the possibility of smart phones being used for interactive learning such as internet research.
The new plan was drafted with help from two committees made up of teachers, administrators, principals and a union representative.