Flint Community Schools adopts new policy to ban cell phones and hoodies

Starting from January 3, 2024, students of Flint Community Schools (FCS) will not be allowed to use cell phones, tablets, or other electronic devices on school grounds or buses. They will also have to refrain from wearing hoodies inside the school buildings. The new policy was approved by the Board of Education on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, with a unanimous vote.

According to Superintendent Kevelin Jones, the policy was implemented to improve the academic performance and safety of the students. He said that cell phones and other devices were distracting the students from learning and causing behavioral issues. He also said that hoodies were posing a security risk, as they could conceal weapons or other contraband items.

Flint Community Schools adopts new policy to ban cell phones and hoodies
Flint Community Schools adopts new policy to ban cell phones and hoodies

“Scholars are consumed with their cellphones, their headphones, and the instruction that’s going on in the classroom becomes second and third to devices,” Jones said. He added that the policy was supported by the teachers and staff, who had witnessed the negative effects of cell phones and hoodies on the students.

Another reason for the policy, according to Board President Michael Clark, was to prevent cyberbullying and rumor spreading. He said that many students would record or livestream physical altercations or other incidents on their phones, which would escalate the conflicts and damage the reputation of the school.

“A lot of times, when our kids get into physical altercations, the first thing a lot of the kids do is grab a cell phone and record it or go live,” Clark said. He also said that the policy was in line with the district’s vision of creating a positive and respectful learning environment for the students.

The reaction from the parents

The policy, however, was met with some criticism and concern from the parents of the students. Some of them said that they relied on their children’s cell phones to communicate with them in case of emergencies or other situations. They also said that they felt that the policy was too strict and infringing on the students’ rights and freedoms.

“To say that they can’t take it with them, that’s– that’s– it’s– I feel that it’s ridiculous,” said Jeriesha Dirrell, who has three teens in the district. “They have their cell phones… in case they need to contact someone. In case of an emergency,” she added.

Jamar McKenzie, another parent, said that he would prefer a phone check-in system, where the students could leave their phones at the office or in their lockers and retrieve them after school. He said that he had experienced a situation where his child was on lockdown and the only way he knew about it was because his child contacted him on the phone.

“We just had a situation with– where the students was on lockdown and the only reason why I knew about it was because my student was contacting me,” he said.

The alternative options for the parents

Superintendent Jones acknowledged the parents’ concerns and said that the district was working to improve the communication channels between the school and the families. He said that the district had fixed the phone lines in the schools, which had been malfunctioning for a long time. He also said that the district had launched a new app, which would provide updates on bus routes, emergency notices, and other information.

He urged the parents to download the app and to trust the school staff to handle any situations that might arise. He said that the policy was not meant to punish the students, but to help them focus on their education and their future.

“We’re not trying to take away their rights. We’re trying to give them an opportunity to be successful,” he said.

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