New policy changes for students across the county

By By: Julie Kracov, Online Arts Editor and Stacey Stein, Online Breaking News Editor

MCPS implemented new cell phone and attendance policies that allow students more flexibility in using their phones while the attendance policy creates stricter guidelines to ensure that all students attend class.

The new cell phone policy allows students to use phones before and after school and during lunch, but CHS staff may restrict use in order to keep classrooms and study areas quiet.

“I have no problem with students using phones during lunch,” English teacher Linda Smith said. “Phone use during lunch should not have any bearing on phone use in class.”

According to security team leader Terry Bell, the county set guidelines for individual schools to interpret differently.

“It will cut down on the number of infractions,” Bell said. “So far it has worked out pretty well.”

According to Bell, as of the seventh day of school, only two cell phones had been seized, which surprised Bell, who would have predicted more would have been confiscated at this point.

Assistant Principal Doreen Brandes hopes that this new policy will help relieve student stress as they will no longer have to worry about when they will be able to contact their parents and friends.

“Our students are responsible,”Brandes said. “There was a need for more flexibility for parents to contact kids and kids to contact parents.”

The attendance policy has also changed and is now similar to the policy implemented during the 2009-2010 school year. The main difference is a county mandated intervention with counselors, administrator and parents after three unexcused absences. After five unexcused absences, students will be eligible for loss of credit unless they succeed in an appeals process.

“When there was no policy that included loss of credit or intervention I think unexcused absences spiked,” Brandes said. “The new policy is being more proactive.”

According to Brandes, what is criteria for excused and unexcused absences have become clearer and now students are held more accountable for their absences.

“The new policy makes the school personnel and families work as a team,” Brandes said.