Osakis students have a new cell phone/electronic device classroom policy they need to adhere to or face the consequences.

The new policy was shared at the Monday, Sept. 9 school board meeting.

The policy states:

“Cell phones and other electronic devices are restricted from all academic settings unless prior permission is given by the instructor for direct instruction, presentations, or projects. Cell phone and electronic devices need to be left in your locker. They may be used before school, after school, and during lunch period.”

For a first-time offense, if students do not comply, their cell phone will be turned into the office and held there until the end of the day.

For additional offenses, cell phones will be turned into the office; the student will make a phone call from the office to a parent to inform them; a parent or guardian will need to pick up the phone after meeting with the principal; the student will be subject to disciplinary action at the discretion of administration; and the incident will be documented.

Students who refuse to comply with the request to surrender their phone will be considered insubordinate. The rules for insubordination are outlined in the student handbook.

Brad Hoffrath, Osakis High School principal, spoke about the new policy, along with Stan Moore, the school district’s integrationist.

Moore, whose part of the school’s technology committee, said he checked with other area school districts to find out what, if any, policies they had in place, as well as surveyed 30 high school staff members.

Some schools have policies in place, while others don’t. And Moore said there really is no clear cut answer, but that comments from staff members is that cell phone use is taking away from classroom instruction.

“We need to do something,” said Moore. “We need to have something in place for all classrooms.”

Moore also noted that cell phone use isn’t just an issue in school, it’s a problem for society.

“We should all be working on this and learn to communicate face-to-face,” he said.

Since the start of school, there have only been a total of nine offenses, said Hoffrath.

He said he’s noticed that students are actually talking to one another in the hallways and lunchrooms, and oftentimes, cell phones, which used to be prominently placed on the lunchroom tables are no longer there.

“That’s pretty powerful,” Hoffrath said. “We’ve heard a lot of positives about the policy and there’s been a lot more focus.”