Columbia Public Schools Could See Electronic Devices in Classrooms

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia School Board is scheduled to vote Monday night on a policy that would allow students to use certain electronic devices in the classroom.
The Missouri School Boards' Association is asking Columbia Public Schools to accept the policy that would allow students to use electronic devices like smart phones, tablets or even gaming devices during class time. Gaming devices are included because officials said younger students would have more access to a personal gaming device.
Missouri School Boards' Association Associate Executive Director Kelli Hopkins said some districts already adopted similar changes. Hopkins said device usage has become more common and is a major reason for the policy change. Columbia Public School's current policy prohibits any electronic device usage in the classroom, but Hopkins said MSBA suggests the change so schools have the option to use them.
Not every school would have to adopt the new policy if approved. CPS Superintendent Chris Belcher and school principals would be authorized to decide what schools, classes and grades would have the ability to use the devices. Teachers would then have the option of including the devices in their lesson plans when appropriate.
Parents would have to sign a written agreement allowing their child to use the devices in the classroom and officials said they would install filters on the school's network to block inappropriate sites.
The school board meeting is Monday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Administration Building on West Worley Street.