Provo school district adopts policy to donate confiscated devices

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    By SHERALYN BOLE

    The Provo School District Board of Education unanimously voted Tuesday to donate pagers, cellular phones and other distracting devices confiscated at schools to local charities.

    Provo schools can now donate the devices if parents do not pick them up within 30 days.

    Prior to the change, school principals were primarily responsible for contacting parents and informing them of the confiscated devices.

    Under the new policy, however, parents must take the initiative to pick up the devices on their own.

    The policy was introduced as an addition to the district’s Safe Schools policy during last month’s meeting.

    Although the policy was open for public input for a month, few parents spoke up, said Terry Shoemaker, district personnel director and author of the policy.

    He said school employees, however, indicated they wanted the change.

    “I want to cheer for this,” said Marney Isaacson, high-school teacher.

    “As a teacher, I would confiscate something, give it back at the end of the day, and then it would be back in my class the next day,” she said.

    Board member Nancy Hutchins said she was concerned that the policy might not work for elementary students. She said the younger children might not be able to handle the responsibility of informing their parents of the confiscated devices.

    “A seven-year-old might not tell his parents that he got caught and got in trouble,” she said.

    To avoid such problems, most schools will continue to require parents to sign a note acknowledging that they know about confiscated items, Shoemaker said.

    “Our intent is certainly to inform principals of their responsibilities — if they collect the items, they will have to store them,” he said.

    School facilitators will still work to make sure parents get their devices back, he said.

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