Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 3:41:05 PM

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New Technology Makes for Changing Cell Phone Policies

Three years ago, the Union-Endicott Student Code of Conduct read:

"No cell phones. period, the end," said U-E Superintendent of Schools Dr. Suzanne McLeod.

Advances in technology caused the superintendent to put together a committee to change that:

"It became a hindrance for certain classroom activities where I observed a class where the teacher actually had the high school students checking on their cell phones updated election information," said McLeod.

She says allowing high school students to use their phones before,after and during passing time has curbed misuse and gives parents some piece of mind.

"Not even just safety, but also the chance of being able to touch base with your child.  What time should I pick you up from soccer practice," said Mcloud.

Maine-Endwell High School Principal Thomas Burkhardt says their policy was established in 2001 but is always being reviewed.

"It's quite challenging to keep up with the technology.  A lot of the challenge is we're on the back of that wave.  The students and the younger children, they're more tech savvy than the adults are." said Burkhardt.

Burkhardt says their policy prohibits cell phone use during the day. Students are allowed to use them in certain areas of the campus with faculty permission.

Now that smart phones can be used for educational purposes, it's a policy he finds isn't enforced consistently.

"We are in a gray area now with the smart phones that have come out and they need and want the use of cell phones for positive and educational experiences."

In fact, McLeod and Burkhardt say they wouldn't be surprised to see more cell phones used in the classroom.

"We're looking at different mediums that we can use to provide that information to students," said Burkhardt.

"Keeping track of weather alerts and various forms and I'm a dinosaur here, but I think there's even research that can be done using twitter," said McLeod.

**Ali Warner Fox 40 HD News**

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