Education Commissioner Dr. La Verne Terry on Friday re-affirmed the department’s policy banning cellular phones and other electronic device use by students while in school. “Parents are hereby advised that cell phones and other electronic devices such as wireless earpieces, portable pagers, PDAs, hand-held radios, hand-held videogames, CD players, MP3 players, laser pointers and wireless cards are not allowed on the campuses of any public school in the territory,” the Commissioner said. “If a student is found using a cell phone or any of these devices on campus or if a cell phone rings in a classroom, the device will be confiscated and returned to parents at the end of the semester. This is not a new policy and the department will be aggressively enforcing this policy,” she said.
The V.I. Department of Education’s Electronic Device Policy, which was updated in 2007, states that “An electronic device refers to any device carried, worn, or stored by a student to receive or communicate messages, connect to the internet, play music or games, and take pictures.” The policy further states, “Students may possess an electronic device upon the prior written request from a parent or guardian and the approval of the school principal or the insular superintendent of schools upon showing of medical necessity (i.e. hearing aid) or other appropriate circumstances as determined by the insular superintendent of schools or when use is provided for in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). A medical necessity must be verified by a practicing physician. Teachers shall be notified of those students who are authorized to use an electronic device.”
Terry further stated, “District superintendent’s and school administrators are responsible for ensuring that this policy is well distributed throughout their areas of oversight and shared with staff, students parents and other stakeholders.”
A copy of the department’s Electronic Device Policy can be obtained via its Web site at www.doe.vi.