Portage Township school board vets electronic device policy
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent July 17, 2013 8:24PM
Updated: July 18, 2013 8:59AM
The Portage Township School Board continued to thrash out an electronic device and social media policy for faculty, staff and students during its discussion meeting Wednesday night.
The policy changes are designed to result in the responsible use of Internet access, according to board member Jessica Bailey.
Currently school policy prohibits the use of personal wireless devices such as cell phones and tablets. Such an across-the-board prohibition leads to some inconsistencies in device usage, the most glaring being electronic readers.
Students may download electronic books from the library onto a personal e-reader but are prohibited from reading the e-book on their device in school.
The policy review will address both in-class use of wireless devices and an attempt to develop an out-of-class protocol guiding social media usage, especially between students and educators.
School superintendent Ric Frataccia wanted to see additional language that could insulate the school system from inappropriate conduct between students and teachers and suggested that personal social media contact be strongly discouraged.
New policy guidelines may allow students to contact teachers on a superintendent approved classroom Facebook page at the teacher’s discretion.
An electronic media policy would ease the introduction and acceptance of tablet devices in the classroom. Frataccia noted that some tablets are now at the $200 price range, an affordable option for many, especially if they were used to replace physical textbooks.