An Important Reminder About Student Use of Cell Phones

Please see the letter below from Deputy Superintendent John Hill. Text: Dear Parents, At Polk County Public Schools, the safety and well-being of our students is always our first priority. This year, we have seen an increase in students using their cell phones to video record acts of violence, illegal activities, and other inappropriate content. In some cases, these videos have been posted to social media, which is humiliating and degrading for the students who were filmed. This behavior violates student privacy and will not be tolerated at Polk County Public Schools. Our Code of Student Conduct, under section 5.26 Personal Communication Devices (PCD), states: “The use of a PCD for non-educational purposes, including but not limited to recording staff and/or students without permission or knowledge, or recording fights is strictly prohibited.” Any student who uses a cell phone to record a fight, battery, or any other inappropriate content and uploads that video to social media or any other form of web-based communication will be immediately suspended for 10 days and/or recommended for placement in an alternative school or expulsion. Possession of a personal communication device by a student at school during school hours is a privilege that will be forfeited if any student fails to abide by the Code of Student Conduct. Our principals and school staff members will investigate any suspected violations immediately and will take immediate action to address inappropriate behavior. Again, the safety and well-being of our students is always our first priority. We do not tolerate violations of the Code of Student Conduct, violence on our campuses, or the posting of inappropriate videos to the internet. Thank you for helping us keep students safe, protect student privacy, and ensure the very best educational experience possible for all of our students. Sincerely, John M. Hill Deputy Superintendent