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updated: 6/9/2011 12:09 PM

District 207: Allowing cell phones during school a big hit

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Maine Township High School District 207 officials said this week the district's trial cellphone policy allowing limited use of personal mobile phones in certain areas of its three high schools is a big hit with students and parents.

The district banned student use of cellphones during the school day in 1998. That policy was suspended in April.

Students have been allowed to use their cellphones in designated areas, during emergencies, for individualized educational programs and for instructional purposes during class.

District administrators recently surveyed parents, students and teachers about what they think about the change.

"Parents and students are very much in support of this new policy," said Hank Thiele, District 207's chief technology officer.

Parents were especially relieved to be able to get in touch with their children during last week's lockdown of Maine West High School after a report of a man displaying what was thought to be a handgun during an argument with students, he added. Police determined later that it was a BB gun.

Thiele said reactions from school personnel has been somewhat mixed. Two-thirds of staff who responded to the survey were in favor of the policy. Nearly half of the district's staff members responded to the survey.

If the school board makes the policy permanent, it will go into effect this fall.