Phones called tools for cheating

Cheating on a test by using a cell phone — or even being suspected of that — may end with the electronic device being seized and searched.

Faculty and staff at campuses within the South San Francisco Unified District would be allowed to confiscate cell phones and search through phone and text messages of students suspected of cheating under a policy change that will go before the school board.

The change is prompted by stories of students who take pictures of tests and assignments and send them to friends, district Superintendent Howard Cohen said.

Although there have not been any students caught doing this within South San Francisco schools, he said, it has occurred in other districts. The changes would amend a ban on cell phones on campus that has been in place since 2005, he said.

“We won’t just grab a student’s cell phone,” Cohen said. “In order to search, certain conditions have to be met. It’s a way of letting parents and students know the new procedures.”

The right to search a cell phone will be given if there is evidence that a particular student “was violating the law or a school rule,” according to the proposed policy change’s wording.

Such a search, the district says, is “not excessively intrusive in light of the nature of alleged infraction.”

Jackie Lagomarsino, parent and member of the El Camino High School Parent Teacher Association, said she was unsure of how she felt about the new rules.

“When you don’t have a child who uses cell phones to cheat it’s hard to respond,” she said. “If you’ve got nothing to hide, but also there should be some respect for privacy.”

Electronic media, Cohen said, is a “whole new world” for teachers and other school officials.

Students at South San Francisco High School who were told about the proposed rule change expressed concerns about possible violations of their privacy.

“That’s crazy,” 17-year-old Stephanie Sandoval said. “Cheating has nothing to do with being able to look at my cell phone.”

Sandoval said she has not used her phone to cheat, but has sent text messages to friends during school hours — a violation of the district’s overall ban.

The practice of enforcing the current ban varies at each campus, Cohen said.

 

Following the rules

South San Francisco Unified School District conduct code is intended to ensure a positive learning environment for all students. A proposed rule change would allow the confiscation and inspection of phones suspected of being used to cheat.

CURRENT GUIDELINES INCLUDE:

Grades 9-12

  • Students may not use phones, pagers or beepers on school grounds during regular school hours
  • Students may only possess such devices as long as they don’t disrupt classes or other school activities
  • Phones and other such devices must be turned off at the request of school district staff

Grades K-8

  • Possession of phones, pagers and beepers is prohibited on school grounds
  • Exceptions are allowed only on preapproved health grounds

Source: South San Francisco Unified School District

Bay Area NewsLocalphoneSouth San Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

The San Francisco Giants celebrate team legend Willie Mays' 90th birthday before taking on the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on May 7, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Willie Mays returns to the ballpark for a special birthday bash

Giants celebrate No. 24’s 90th in an intimate party for a few thousand friends

Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting has expanded the range of people who can request a gun violence restraining order against someone. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Use of gun violence restraining orders continues to rise

For the fourth year in a row, the number of gun violence… Continue reading

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the pandemic. 
Steven Ho/
Special to S.F. Examiner
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Most Read