Parish school board talks electronics policy

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 10, 2016

VIDALIA — The Concordia Parish School Board dicussed Thursday shortening the holding period when confiscating electronic devices from children who violate the district’s policy.

The current policy requires school officials to confiscate electronic devices for the entire school year on the second and third offense. As proposed, the period would only be for nine weeks.

“The thought behind it is if we take the phone away for a year, what often ends up happening is another phone will be purchased,” said Interim Superintendent Loretta Blankenstein. “If it is only a nine-week period, there might be some punishment time that would help prevent additional use.”

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No student is allowed to have in his or her possession or use an electronic device on school grounds, including the school bus, unless specifically authorized by the school principal or principal’s designee.

Students are required to leave the devices in their vehicle, at home or submit them to the principal or his or her designee upon arrival on campus. Students who do this will receive devices back at the end of the school day.

Upon first offense, the device is confiscated and returned to the parent. On the second offense, on top of the nine-week confiscation period, the penalty carries a one-day suspension. A three-day suspension is levied for the third offense.

Electronic devices include cell phones, MP3 players, iPods, iPads or any other similar devices. School board member John Bostic said teachers should also consider Apple or other smart watches.

“The phone can be in the car, but they can still work it on their watch,” he said. “And the teachers and principals will be thinking it’s just a watch.”

Bostic also said instead of suspensions, he hoped children would be afforded the opportunity to attend the Concordia Education Center during the one-day and three-day suspension periods.

Blankenstein said the district’s attorney has approved the policy.

“They are more comfortable with this confiscation period rather than having it be all year long,” she said.

In other news, Gloria Dangerfield, the assistant director of business affairs, will retire effective July 1. She has worked in the Concordia Parish school system for 42 years. The school board gave her a standing ovation after Blankenstein thanked Dangerfield for her service to the district.

“The school board has been good to me,” Dangerfield said. “I’m going to move on and do something a little different — mostly just rest and be a grandparent.”