Cell phone usage at school

Dear Plato families, 

As we continue to grow as a school community, we are finding that we need to remind students and families of our cell phone policy.

Plato policy manual (page.63).

Plato Academy holds our students to high standards when it comes to academic focus and we appreciate the support of our Plato families as we implement this policy. We are all looking forward to partnering with you to ensure a successful school year for all students.

As you all know, we have instituted a No Cell Phone policy within our schools unless the teacher has specific assignments or activities where a cell phone may be used. Our policy is aligned to the Technology in K-12 Schools Act (HB 379) which went into effect on July 1, 2023. 

phones in class

Each school site has its own cell phone procedure. However, we have noticed that students are also using their smartwatches (Apple Watch/ Android Watch) to communicate when they do not have access to their cell phones, causing distractions in our schools. Due to this, we are including smartwatches in our cellular device policy. Students will not be able to wear smartwatches during the school day. 

If you do not want your child to secure their phone or smartwatch at school, please keep their devices at home. 

We are also asking that students refrain from using ear buds/ air pods while at school, including clubs and dismissal. If they are not using their cellular devices, they do not need to be using earbuds / air pods. 

Additional useful information

We recognize that cell phones are an integral part of our world in 2023 and want to clarify the cell phone policy at Plato Academy.

Please be mindful…

1. Everything you put on the internet is permanent. Even if you think you deleted it, it’s not gone. There are real-life consequences. If they apply to a private high school, the school will do a social media check. As will future colleges and future employers. A digital footprint is a very real thing with very real implications.

2. Conversations they are having online or via text that they believe are private, are never private. Schools across the nation have dealt with countless situations where one student took what was supposed to be a private text message or picture, screen-shot it, saved it, and then shared it with others. That same scenario, sharing of private text messages, happened at Plato last year. Students need to be a lot more careful about what they put in writing and what they share online.

3. The lines between what is a school issue and what is a home issue have become much more complicated thanks to technology. Examples include:

  • A Plato student makes an inappropriate tiktok video at home, while wearing a Plato Academy shirt.
  • A Plato student uses video or camera footage of our school or our students in their tiktok without school permission.
  • A Plato student creates a tiktok video that makes disparaging remarks about another Plato student or Plato staff member. Where they are when they create the tiktok does not matter. If it’s about a Plato student, it is a Plato issue.

These are just a few examples of how something a student might do at home, becomes a school issue as well. They need to remember that some things they do online that they consider “a joke” can be perceived as cyberbullying and will be treated as such.

Plato Academy has high standards and we strive to provide the safest environment possible for our students. We also work diligently to ensure the learning environment is protected, giving students the opportunity to thrive in their educational goals. It is our partnership with our families that greatly impacts these efforts. We ask that you please speak with your student about the importance of their education and how it impacts their future and encourage them to behave in ways that respect their own learning and the learning environment of their peers. This starts with being actively engaged in school. This is the main reason for the law as data showed that cell phone distraction in schools was adversely affecting learning gains. Thank you for your cooperation and partnership.

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