Bedford County Board Of Education Allows Students To Text, Tweet In School

Bedford County Board Of Education Allows Students To Text, Tweet In School

CREATED Apr 21, 2014
by Jason Lamb

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Texting, tweeting and talking on cell phones have all long been banned for teens at most high schools, but the Bedford County School System is now allowing it in some cases.

The Bedford County Board of Education made the change to its high school cell phone policy last week, allowing students to use their own cell phones and other mobile devices at school, as long as it's not during class.

Whit Taylor, the Principal at Shelbyville Central High School, said he knows having a cell phone is a part of being a teen these days, yet he says his staff spends quite a bit of time taking cell phones from students during the course of the school day.  The school’s previous policy called for confiscation of cell phones that were turned on, ringing or receiving messages. 

But Taylor and some teachers at the high school said if students are allowed to use cell phones and tablets at lunch and in between classes, they'll be less likely to use them during class when they should be paying attention.

“It’s becoming the thing you're constantly having to monitor, and it’s a bit of the cat chasing the mouse at times,” said Neal Gordon, a chemistry and biology teacher at Shelbyville Central High.  “We're hoping this might relieve some of that problem.”

Students’ personal cell phones and tablets will also be allowed inside Bedford County classrooms for educational purposes when the individual teacher allows them.  The Bedford County Schools Superintendent said the county’s high schools eventually want to adopt a "bring your own device" policy -- allowing students to use their own mobile devices for classwork, instead of those provided by the school.

As part of the new cell phone and tablet policy, the Board of Education also toughened up its rules against cyber bullying, saying if a student sends out a photo or video that embarrasses someone or gets in the way of teaching, they could be suspended or even expelled.