Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 19, 2014

Student’s watch phone an issue of controversy

Southern Elementary teacher confiscated device


Somerset —

Different schools in the Pulaski County School System have different policies regarding electronic devices. Southern Elementary has a no-phone policy for its students. Pulaski Schools assistant superintendent Sonya Wilds said she didn’t know of any elementary school in the system that allowed such devices, but Jaymee said she’d never had any problems at Cayden’s old school, Shopville Elementary.
Since the accident involving Josef happened so close to their house, the Phillippis moved, forcing Cayden to change school districts. Jaymee noted that they didn’t really get off on the right foot with Southern Elementary upon arrival, but it’s this latest incident that has really become a problem.
“I went to talk to the principal,” she said “He was very rude and condescending. He said the smart watch was a phone. I said (Cayden’s) dad passed away, and the watch made him always feel connected to me. (The administrator) had a ‘because I said so’ attitude, and never gave a direct reason why (the watch wasn’t allowed).”
She then contacted Pulaski assistant superintendent Patrick Richardson, who “was nice about it” but noted that individual schools had their own policies about phones and electronics.
“My daughters go to Southwestern and they could have a phone,” said Jaymee. “I’m not trying to go against the rules. If every school was not allowed to have phones, it would be fine, but all the other schools have them.”
Wilds and Richardson noted that Jaymee Phillippi had spoken with Southern assistant principal Kent Mayfield about the matter, and that she was “extremely upset,” as Wilds put it.
“I said, ‘Ma’am, I’d be happy to talk to the principal and assistant principal and advocate for (you),’” said Richardson, “... but the final decision is handled at the school level. When I told her that, she got pretty hostile pretty quick. She said, ‘I guess I’ll take my child to Somerset Christian School.’”

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