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Cell phones in school

DICKINSON, N.D. - With an increasing number of students carrying cell phones at schools, an escalating number of tricky ways to get around the schools' cell phone policies are being devised.

Some area schools now have rules as to when and where the phones can be used, and for the most part, misuse is not a problem, administrators say.

Hettinger High School's policy allows students to carry phones, though they must be kept on silent and vibrate must be off, Principal Adam Hill said.

"If it rings, it's basically a violation," he said.

Offenders must turn their phone in for 24 hours for the first offense. Second-time offenders lose it for 24 hours also, but their parents have to pick it up. Students that lose their phone on Friday must wait until Monday to get it back.

Having the parents come get them, Hill said, usually takes care of the problem.

"So if the parent says I'm not going to come get it for three days, well, then the student is without their phone for three days," he said.

Hagen Junior High has a similar policy.

Principal Perry Braunagel said if the staff sees a student using their phone during the school day, the first time it's taken away, documented, and they have to pick it up in the office. The second time it's taken away and a parent has to pick it up. The third time a meeting with the student and parents is held regarding the violations.

Curt Pierce, South Heart secondary principal, said students can use their cell phones during the lunch hour.

"It's (cell phone usage) not a major problem," he said. "We have allowed students to use them during their lunch time but otherwise cell phones are not to be in the classroom or turned on anytime during the school day."

Differing from South Heart, Braunagel said Hagen does not allow students to use cell phones at all.

"When the bell rings at 3:15 p.m. they can use them because they're using them to call for rides or letting them know where they're at for practice," Braunagel said. "So far this year we haven't had anyone get to the third strike yet. We've had a few at the second strike."

Despite the policy, Hill knows there are kids out there that use them when they shouldn't, and Braunagel agrees.

"Are there kids that have them on during the day? I betcha there is," Braunagel said.

Sage Roshau, a South Heart High School senior, said there are tell-tale signs that a student is using a cell phone, including bending over to reach in their bookbag frequently, and placing their bag on the desk in front of them for easy access.

"Half of the students use them anyway," said Tessa Splichal, a South Heart senior.

Texting other students that go to different schools and their parents is why a group of South Heart students say they use their phones during school.

"Anyone we wanted to talk to here we can just go up and talk to them," Roshau added.