Seventh-graders rewrite cell phone policy

BLOUNT COUNTY SCHOOLS

Last week, Blount County Superintendent Jim Carr and assistant superintendent Rodney Green (not pictured) visited the seventh-grade class that rewrote a policy concerning cell phone use in the classroom.

Last week, Blount County Superintendent Jim Carr and assistant superintendent Rodney Green (not pictured) visited the seventh-grade class that rewrote a policy concerning cell phone use in the classroom.

A class of Hayden Middle School seventh-graders will have their proposal in the upcoming fall edition of the Blount County School Handbook. What started as a simple research assignment, morphed into a threemonth project.

When seventh-grade English teacher Mary Hicks presented the topic of cell phone usage in class to her students, they immediately became fired up on the topic.

That fire has led to a total change in the way cell phones will be able to be used in Blount County schools this coming fall.

“The current handbook says students are not allowed to have any electronic devices, but our proposal states students shall be allowed to use their cell phones for education purposes with the teacher’s permission,” Hicks said.

But this wasn’t something the students did on a whim. This was months and months of research, surveys, and rewrites to get the proposal just right. And the hard work paid off.

“I don’t know if students in Blount County have ever been taken seriously when they submitted a revision, so this is a big deal,” Hicks said.“When I told them they brought about change, tears were shed. Because they knew they could make change happen even as seventh-graders.”

The process for proposal acceptance was a long one. It had to pass through several committees of students, teachers, and principals before reaching the Blount County Board of Education which chose to approve it.

“It had to go through attorneys, so some of the verbiage was changed,” Hicks explains.“But 90 percent of what is written in that proposal came from our students.”