There has been quite a bit of hubbub over the last year pertaining to Board of Education meetings and cell phones. I don’t intend to go into individual cases here. I am wondering if it is time to say no to cell phones during board meetings. I don’t think they are necessary and I think they do more harm than good.
Of course, right now our meeting are virtual, and I’m not sure how much Board Members are consulting their phones while live on video. I must admit I’m thinking of in-person meetings out on Route 108.
Why allow cell phones at all? Are they necessary for the Board to conduct business during their meetings?
I can see why board members might need to be reached by family in case of emergency but couldn’t there be someone on staff who was responsible to be the communication point for calls like that so they could notify the board member if needed? Other than that, aren’t cell phones on the dais doing more harm than good?
I adore my smart phone and my tablet device and yet I also see how they can sometimes be a hindrance instead of a help. It is too easy to get sucked in to knowing and responding to everything immediately. It is difficult to put them aside and pay complete and total attention to what is right in front of me. Board members are only human. They have only so much focus to give during a given meeting and it seems counterproductive to add electronic devices into the mix.
Accusations abound of who is texting who during board meetings and whether this constitutes a violation of the rules. That makes me wonder. Haven't our schools have struggled with how to handle students and cell phones? We have revisited the policy at least once, if not more. Maybe it’s time to have a cell phone policy for the Board.