This article was contributed by the Hollister School District.
The Hollister School District will begin the “Away for the Day” cell phone policy in 2019-2020. The policy requires students to turn off their electronic devices and put them away (and out of sight) for the day. The Board of Trustees approved the updated Board Policy 5131 at their July 23 meeting.
The cell phone policy change was implemented to address numerous concerns voiced by teachers, parents and school administrators during the 2018-2019 school year.
“Children as young as 11 (sixth graders) are distracted during class and showing signs of being addicted to their phones (such as constantly checking their phones for updates),” Superintendent Diego Ochoa said. “The ‘Away for the Day’ policy prohibits student cell phone use during school hours and during school activities on campus.”
Parents are asked to discuss the policy with their children prior to the first day of classes on August 19. If students are using or in possession of their cell phone while on campus, it will be confiscated and sent to administration.
The school district held two parent meetings on Monday, July 22 at Rancho San Justo Middle School and at the Hollister Dual Language Academy. The meetings were attended by more than 100 employees, parents and community members.
Director of Student Services Kip Ward said, “I thought the parent turn out was excellent. Everyone in attendance totally supported the ‘Away for the Day’ policy. As a parent, I want to do everything possible to make sure that my child is focused at school.”
The two parent meetings provided attendees with information about cell phone use, research and copies of the proposed Board Policy 5131.
The Hollister School District administration is looking forward to the 2019-2020 school year and the potential for more focused academic environments and improved student behavior on school campuses.
“In prior years, student cell phone use was getting in the way of us accomplishing our goals and that shouldn’t continue,” Ochoa said. “Let’s put common sense policies, like ‘Away for the Day,’ in place. Our wonderful teachers, principals and staff are here to educate and support the children in Hollister. These employees are in education because they care deeply about making a difference in the lives of students. ”