As you will be aware, international research indicates some key challenges with having cellphones at school such as being a major distraction for our students.
We have seen this first hand and have had a cellphone policy in place for the last few years which has stipulated that students should not use their phones during class time. The government has now introduced regulations that require schools to ensure students do not use or access a phone while they are attending school. This includes students who are on a school trip.
These rules are designed to ensure that the learning of all students is maximised, while minimising any potential for distraction and cyber-bullying. The government has mandated that phones must be “away for the day”, meaning cellphones do not come with the student to school. The Hillcrest High School Board of Trustees appreciates the support of whaanau to make this change possible.
If a student does bring their cellphone for emergency contact or health reasons, the phone must be switched off and kept in their bag at all times, unless directed by a teacher.
There is a process for dealing with students who are caught with or on their phone during the school day. In the first instance, if a student is seen with or on their phone, it will be confiscated by the classroom teacher and placed in a locked box in the school office and can be collected at the end of the school day. This will be recorded as a pastoral incident on the student’s school record. If further incidents occur or a student refuses to put their phone in the locked box, this will result in further consequences including a whaanau meeting.
It is important to note that if students do make the decision to bring a cellphone to the school grounds, they do so at their own risk. The school is not responsible for any loss or damage caused to any cellphone.
We understand that some parents like their children to have a phone to communicate with them after school. If a parent or caregiver needs to contact their child urgently during the day, they should call the office or contact their child via their school email address.