Wake Ed

Still own a beeper? Wake schools may no longer ban them

Teenager Sarah Maginnis, left, and mom Heather Morcroft use a beeper and cellular phone to stay in touch in this 1996 file photo.
Teenager Sarah Maginnis, left, and mom Heather Morcroft use a beeper and cellular phone to stay in touch in this 1996 file photo. KRT

Most teenagers have never used a pager, but the Wake County school system still bans students from using beepers or having them on during the school day.

Wake’s out-of-date policy on electronic devices bans “cell phones, pagers, two-way radios, CD/MP3 players, and electronic games” from being used during the school day. But Wake’s 1990s era wording is getting an update to reflect the modern world of all-in-one smartphones and tablets – devices that students are now encouraged to bring and use in class.

The school board’s policy committee gave its support Tuesday to changes in the Code of Student Conduct that toss out references to obsolete devices such as pagers. The new wording says “personal technology devices” such .as smartphones, tablets and laptops can be used by students for instructional purposes with the permission and the supervision of a teacher.

“That strengthens and drastically modernizes our technology use, which is a step very much in the right direction,” school board member Jim Martin, chairman of the policy committee, said amid laughter from staff and other board members.

The changes reflect how schools view technology differently now compared to 20 years ago.

Phones, pagers and other electronic devices owned by students were once considered to be nuisances that caused distractions in the classroom.

But nowadays, many Wake County schools have adopted Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. Teachers tell students when their smartphones, tablets and laptops can be used and when they’re to be put away.

The full board could approve the revisions to the Code of Student Conduct on June 6.

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