WINCHESTER — The Winchester School Board unanimously approved changes to its student cellphone use and dress code policies during a work session Monday night.
The updated student cellphone policy now bans elementary, intermediate and middle school students from using their phones at school. High school students are prohibited from using their phones during instructional time. Before the update, students could use personal electronic devices in the classroom with a teacher’s permission.
The updated dress code policy adopts a gender-neutral enforcement of student clothing and bans any clothing “that is racially divisive at school, on school property, or at school-sponsored activities.” The approved changes specifically prohibit the wearing of any clothing that “denotes Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation-White Supremacy, Neo-Nazi, racial hate groups or Confederate flags.”
The dress code policy also now focuses less on punishment for violations and more on using such infractions as teachable moments for students on appropriate attire in the workplace.
Attending Monday night’s work session held in-person and virtually from John Kerr Elementary School were Winchester Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum, School Board Chairwoman Erica Truban, School Board Vice Chairwoman Karen Holman and board members Bryan Pearce-Gonzales, Mike Birchenough, Elyus Wallace and Marie Imoh. The meeting was publicly held and streamed through YouTube.