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Glen Ellyn District 41 to consider new technology policy Monday

GLEN ELLYN – The Glen Ellyn School District 41 administration will present a new technology policy to the Board of Education at its Monday meeting after receiving public input over the past week.

The district hosted listening sessions July 28, July 30 and Aug. 2 to give members of the public a chance to provide input on what they'd like to see in the policy.

In all, 65 parents, students, teachers and other community members attended the three sessions, according to Superintendent Paul Gordon.

"I was really proud of the community in how we embraced this issue," he said.

The board previously decided to delete its existing technology guidelines and completely rewrite them. The policy is being overhauled because three Forest Glen Elementary School students accessed pornographic websites on district grounds in April.

The board had varying ideas of what they wanted the policy to entail and sought input from parents before crafting it, which is why they hosted the listening sessions.

Children are around technology at a younger age, Gordon said, and parents can have a tough time keeping up with the changes.

"We heard a lot that parents want and need more support around technology," he said.

This issue was brought up at the July 30 listening session by district parent Nika Johnson.

"No one, even the teachers, are scrambling to find the right thing for the students," she said.

Other big talking points Gordon observed during the listening sessions were a differentiation between the policy for students in grades kindergarten through five and grades six through eight and a way of informing parents how much technology teachers and parents use on a daily basis.

One of the proposals brought up by the board at its July meeting included not allowing students to bring their own personal devices to school. Kim Lutz, a parent, agreed with that sentiment, saying students used to not have their phones out in class.

"What has changed in the classroom that they need to have their phones?" she asked.

A new policy has been written based on the input from the public and will be presented to the board Monday. Gordon is "hopeful" the board will approve the new policy, but it could be taken back to the drawing board for more development.

If the board does not approve the policy Monday, the district will call a special meeting, in the hope of having the policy approved before the 2014-15 school year.

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