Schools lay down the law | ParkRecord.com

Schools lay down the law

Douglas Greenwood, Park Record Staff

In order to ensure the start of a successful school year, each student should be familiar with dress code and cell phone use policies at his or her school. Administrators throughout Summit County work with students and parents to keep a focus on the academic environment that should be prevalent in schools. Dress code and cell phone usage policies universally influence schools and districts in Summit County.

Specific policies differ only slightly throughout the county. Schools in Park City, North Summit and South Summit school districts focus dress code standards on principles of cleanliness and modesty. Short or low-cut shorts, skirts and shirts; clothing that is too tight, too baggy or too revealing and clothing that doesn’t properly cover undergarments violate dress standards. Clothing that mentions, promotes, alludes to or advertises illegal activities, obscene or vulgar language, use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol or other substances are not permitted on school campuses.

Disciplinary actions also vary only slightly among schools and districts in Summit County. Students not following appearance standards have the option of changing into clothes provided by the school or having a change of clothes to comply with standards brought from home.

The majority of students comply with the dress code, according to Park City High School assistant principal Dave McNaughtan. "I can’t think of a time that a student has said, ‘I would rather go home than change my shirt,’" he said.

The reason for dress codes is to maintain an academic focus within the schools, Treasure Mountain assistant principal Kevin McIntosh said.

Cell phone use in school

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School cell phone policies also contribute to the academic focus in schools. Treasure Mountain students are allowed to have cell phones physically with them in school, but cannot use them during school hours. "It goes back to staying focused on academics," McIntosh said.

Not all schools in the district have a cell phone policy as strict as Treasure Mountain. Park City High School recently relaxed its policy of no cell phone use during school. Students can now use phones before and after school, at lunch and in between classes. The relaxed policy has dramatically reduced the number of cell phone use violations in the school, McNaughtan said.

Students at South Summit High School can use cell phones during lunchtime, before and after school. "We don’t allow cell phones to be on during academic time," Principal Gary Twitchell said. "If a student doesn’t have a class, we still consider that academic time."

Students using a phone during academic time, regardless of where they attend school, can have their cell phone taken for at least the rest of the day. If students persist, school principals will involve students and parents directly to help resolve the situation.

Twitchell also added that cell phones are not allowed in locker rooms as part of a severe clause in the cell phone use policy at South Summit High School. Under the severe clause, if a student uses a cell phone to take inappropriate pictures, threaten or vulgarly harass other students or transport pornographic material, he or she will lose all cell phone privileges for one year.

The majority of Summit County students follow these guidelines to promote healthy learning environments in schools. Cell phone use still remains a concern for administrators throughout the three districts in Summit County. "I can’t tell you the number of faculty meetings we’ve had regarding that issue," North Summit County principal Jerre Holmes said.