LEWISTON — The School Committee voted 7-0 Monday to approve the first reading of a policy that would prohibit the use of cellphones and other personal devices by elementary and middle school students during the school day.

A second vote will be necessary for the policy to be implemented.

The proposed policy would require cellphones and other devices owned by students in kindergarten to eighth-grade to be turned off and stored during the school day and school activities. High school students would be allowed to use cellphones and other devices only during breaks between classes and during lunch.

Under the proposed policy, an exception could be made for devices that are deemed to be “essential for the student’s health, safety or for educational purposes as determined by the administration.”

Students would additionally be prohibited from using cameras in locker rooms, bathrooms and “other places where privacy is generally expected.” In all other school locations, students would need to obtain permission to photograph or record another person.

The camera-use policy does not explicitly state who must give permission for photos, however policy subcommittee chairwoman and Ward 4 representative Tanya Whitlow said permission could only be granted by school staff, not students themselves.


Asked whether high school students would be allowed to take photos of friends during lunch or school breaks, Whitlow said she was unsure and acknowledged that the subcommittee had not considered such a situation when writing the policy.

One of the primary purposes of the camera-use policy is to cut down on bullying, according to several committee members.

Students’ phones could be subjected to search if there is reasonable suspicion of a violation of School Committee or other school rules, which include, but are not limited to harassment, cheating and violations of the student code of conduct, according to the proposed policy.

Violations of the policy could lead to confiscation of the device, up to suspension, expulsion and referral to law enforcement.

Other devices restricted during the school day include, but are not limited to, iPods, MP3 players, handheld computers, electronic games, laser pointers, headphones and other similar devices.

The policy does not apply to teachers and other staff.


School Committee members discussed suspending the rules to waive a second reading and fully approve the proposed policy Monday, expressing a desire to have the new policy in place by the first day of school Sept. 1. However, the motion was withdrawn following strong opposition from several members.

Committee members generally voiced agreement to drafting and sending out the revised policy to parents and requiring them to sign it.

The second and final vote on the cellphone, technology and camera policy will take place at the next meeting Aug. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at a location to be determined.


The transportation situation is looking far more positive for this school year, according to Superintendent Jake Langlais. As of July, Hudson Bus Lines had 19 open bus driver positions. The most recent update from the company stated there are now three, he said.

Langlais said he still expects some disruptions to transportation during the upcoming school year.


The committee additionally approved 81 hires in vacant positions across the district and 20 more people are in the process of being hired, Langlais said.

He said there are now 53 vacant educator positions, which does not include educational technicians, special education or English language learning staff. Thirty-four educational technician positions remain vacant.

Executive Director of Operations Bill Grant told the committee that 127 people visited the district’s hiring fair Aug. 5 and 74 ultimately applied for jobs.

In other news, Whitney Rolf was promoted to assistant principal at Robert V. Connors Elementary School and Rebecca Shouvieller will join Lewiston High School as an assistant principal.

Rolf has taught in Lewiston elementary schools for eight years, mostly as a kindergarten teacher at Gov. James B. Longley Elementary School then Connors Elementary School, but most recently as a response to intervention teacher. She holds a master’s degree in elementary mathematics education.

Shouvieller comes to Lewiston from Falmouth High School where she taught social studies for one year. She holds a Master of Education degree in instructional leadership from Harvard University.

The committee approved reallocating $250,000 from the budget for updating security cameras at Montello, Farwell and McMahon elementary schools.

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