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Cell Phone Use Policy

Updated August 2022

We believe that technology resources must be optimized to accomplish our mission to prepare our students to become productive citizens in our global society. Our students will have access to important technological resources (school provided) that will help them learn, and students are expected to bring their Surface (or personal device) fully charged every day. Student use of cell phones in the classroom, meanwhile, has created unnecessary distractions that prevent all students from learning; recent research also indicates that cell phone use can have a negative impact on the development and academic performance of students. Our goal is to help students be fully present within the classroom setting and encourage students to reach their intellectual and creative potential.

Cell phones and personal electronic devices must be silenced and cannot be visible during all instructional periods from 8:30 a.m. to 4:55 p.m. Storage may be in a locker, backpack, pencil bag, etc., during classes. Teachers may allow cell phone usage in their classrooms to serve as an additional technological resource for the academic lesson. Cell phones may be used on campus before the first bell, after the last bell, and during lunch.

Electronic devices include but are not limited to: 

  • gaming systems, 
  • headphones/earbuds, 
  • Google glasses, 
  • and/or smart watches. 

Violation of the Cell Phone Policy will result in the consequences outlined below:

1st Offense: If a device is visible, teachers may request that the student hand over their device. Teachers will hold the device until the end of the class period.

2nd Offense: The student device will be confiscated, and a parent/guardian will be required to pick up the device from the main office by 5:00 p.m. Those devices not picked up by this time will be locked up for the evening where they can be retrieved later. Devices will not be released to students.

3rd Offense: The student will be required to turn in their device upon arrival.

A student who refuses to turn over an electronic device or attempts to hide the device will receive additional in-school disciplinary action.

Examples of Behavior that Violate the Policy:

  • Having your device visible, underneath the desk, or in your lap (even if turned off)
  • Texting or using social media during class
  • Wearing earbuds, headphones, or a smart watch 
  • Giving your phone to another student during the school day
  • Taking someone else’s phone and using it during the school day
  • Calling or receiving calls from parents during class or in the hallway

Examples of Behaviors that Follow the Policy

  • Turning your phone off and keeping all electronic devices stored away and out of site.
  • Receiving permission from a teacher to go to the office to contact your parents for an important reason.

Responsibilities of Students

  • Follow the cell phone/electronic device policy with fidelity.
  • Follow the directives of teachers and staff if asked to hand over your electronic device.

Responsibilities of Parents

  • Refrain from calling/texting your child during the school day.
  • In the event of an emergency, contact the main office at (202) 282-0123.
  • If you need to contact your child during the school day, contact the main office, send an email to your child’s advisory teacher, or use an email to send them a message via his/her electronic device provided by the school.

Responsibilities of Teachers

  • Model behaviors that follow the policy by keeping their electronic devices stored away during class time.
  • When a student violates the cell phone/electronic device policy, the teacher will respectfully request the device and turn it into the office.
  • After a warning, if a student continues to violate the cell phone/electronic device policy, the teacher will respectfully request the device and store it until the end of class or turn it in to the main office for parent/guardian pick-up.
  • Contact the parents and inform them that the device has been confiscated.

Responsibilities of Administrators and Office Staff

  • Safely store students’ devices until picked up by parents/guardians.

Both teachers and students need a learning environment that is free of the distractions that cell phones and other electronic devices have created at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Genuine learning takes place when students are fully engaged with classroom instruction. At the same time, we believe that there is a real need for students to use technology as a tool for learning. For this to happen, students will be provided with those devices by the school.

Students are discouraged from bringing personal iPads, Apple Watches, Bluetooth speakers, and other high-tech items to school. The school is not liable for these items if damaged, lost or stolen.