Some Louisville students will soon be able to use cell phones in class after the Jefferson County Board of Education unanimously approved waivers for eight high schools Monday night.

Fairdale, duPont Manual, Iroquois, Seneca, Southern, Valley, Waggener and Ballard high schools requested to be exempt from the district’s student conduct policy banning cell phone use throughout JCPS facilities.

The board updated the Code of Conduct this year to allow schools to apply for waivers as long as they seek board approval.

Each school proposed a list of rules and expectations that students must follow, which vary slightly. For example, Southern and Valley high schools allow students to use cell phones in the hallway and cafeteria, while Seneca outlaws use in those areas during class exchanges.

All schools proposals said they’d ensure phones are used appropriately and won’t disrupt student learning.

They all give teachers discretion of whether to use cell phones in their class and all schools have signed on to provide professional development for teachers who may need it.

At Monday night’s board meeting, Superintendent Donna Hargens told the board that the JCPS bandwidth can support all students and the schools’ wireless Internet will be open to students.  Further, Hargens says parents must sign a waiver to allow their child to use their cell phone. 

The district will pilot the new policy this school year and the board has requested regular feedback to monitor progress. Several board members expect there to be lessons learned along the way.

“We won’t be able to control all aspects of this,” said board member Linda Duncan.

Some board members said it will help JCPS students become better prepared for world they live in.

Hargens told board members teachers would report progress back to board throughout the year.

(Image via Shutterstock)