Students fail phone challenge


Taft High School students recently missed out on the opportunity to start using their cell phones during lunch.

Earlier in the month Taft principal Mark Grishaber told students that if they meet three goals that he set, the school’s ban on cell phone use would be lifted during lunch. He said that other schools allow cell phone use with few problems.

Grishaber said that students get antsy during the second half of their 50-minute lunch period and that he sees nothing wrong with them text messaging or calling parents during that time. However, he said that he does not want to give students "something for nothing" and that another opportunity to have the ban lifted may be presented to students.

The challenge called for a 96 percent attendance rate in the Seventh and Eighth Grade Academic Center for the week of Oct. 6, at least 120 seniors registering to vote, and at least 1,400 freshmen, sophomores and juniors completing an athletics survey. About 70 seniors registered and about 800 students filled out the survey, Grishaber said.

Students can have a cell phone at school, but they are prohibited from using their phones, although Grishaber said that many students violate the ban. In the past violators risked having their cell phone confiscated, but this year violators can keep their phones but may be reported to the dean, who could issue a detention, Grishaber said.

Last month the school eliminated the uniform requirement in the school’s dress code. Students no longer are required to wear dark pants and a plain white collared shirt.

In another policy change, Taft no longer requires students to wear their student identification card around their neck, but they still must present their card when they enter the school and keep it on their person while at school. Students must show their identification card to any staff member when requested.

In his first year as Taft’s principal, Grishaber said that he hopes to change the "climate and culture" of the school so that students and teachers can focus on academics instead of unnecessary rules, such as the uniform requirement.