The Williamsburg-James City County school board recently assembled to review and revise its current policies regarding mobile phone usage in school and online harassment. Previously, use of cell phones, tablets, electronic gaming devices and other portable electronics was strictly prohibited. The school board agreed to amend the policies and procedures manual so that now, devices must be turned off and stowed away at all times during the school day unless used for educational purposes or otherwise approved by school authorities. Students will be permitted to use their electronic devices after school hours, provided usage does not distract from or disrupt activities.

The WJCC school board also agreed to make bullying a criminal offense, even if the harassment is not physical and occurs off school grounds on the Internet or on cell phones. School authorities must take disciplinary action against bullies, whether they act on-campus or off school grounds. Board member Heather Cordasco considered the new cyber bullying policy overreaching. “I feel it’s a very big personal liberty issue. When it comes to someone’s home, I feel that is reaching into someone’s personal liberty and I’m not comfortable with it.”

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