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Approved: 11-10-04
Reviewed:  9-12-07
Approved:  4-15-09, 3/9/22


While in some instances the possession and use of electronic communication devices or other devices or objects by a student at a school may be appropriate, often the possession and use of such devices or objects by students at school can have the effect of distracting, disrupting and intimidating others in the school setting and leading to opportunities for academic dishonesty and other disruptions of the educational process.  The purpose of this Policy is to vest in school administrators authority to enforce reasonable rules relating to such objects or devices in the public schools.  Some electronic devices used by students may be owned by the District and provided to students for their use.  This policy also addresses standards for student use of such District-owned devices.


  1. Electronic devices
    1. Any type of computer or computer-like device (for example, a tablet) or any device which is used for audio, video, or text communication or recording (mobile/smart phones); and
      Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-1.B (April 7, 2014)
    2. Hands-free devices (such as those using Bluetooth connections) connected to devices listed above in (a).
  1. District-owned device
    1. Any electronic device which is owned by the District and issued, lent, or otherwise provided to a student by the District.
      Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-1.D (April 7, 2014)
  1. Individualized suspicion 
    1. Information that an individual has violated a policy; 
    2. This is generally required for a constitutional search (including a search of personal belongings);
    3. Exceptions are possible when the privacy interests implicated by a search are minimal and where other safeguards are available;
    4. This standard is not as exacting in the public school setting as in criminal law.
  2. Instructional time
    1. Hours during the school day designated as such by the school or school district.
  3. Lunch time
    1. Time period in either elementary or secondary schools designated for lunch;
    2. This may, in elementary schools, be combined with a noon time recess.
  4. Medical reasons
    1. A student’s illness, with or without a health care professional’s documentation;
    2. A student’s recurring illness or medical problem(s).
  5. Parent/legal guardian
    1. The person(s) who has legal responsibility for the child’s education.
  6. Pass time
    1. The period designated in secondary schools between classes or to allow students to move between classrooms.
  7. Reasonable suspicion
    1. Reasonable suspicion need not be based on a single factor, but can be based on the totality of the circumstances;
    2. It can be based on the aggregate effect of all information available at the time of a search;
    3. It does not require absolute certainty, but only "sufficient probability," the sort of common-sense conclusion about human behavior upon which practical people are entitled to rely.
  8. Recess
    1. Time periods designated in elementary school for exercise or outside activity regardless of whether or not it is designated as instructional time by the school.
  9. School or school events
    1. This includes the hours that make up school day, e.g. from 7:40 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., during students’ individual courses or during the entire period of the elementary/intermediate school day
    2. This includes field trips
    3. This includes extended school-sponsored trips or activities
    4. This includes school-provided transportation to and from curricular activities and extracurricular activities, including athletic events


Use of District-Owned Devices—

District-owned devices must be used in accordance with the specific rules and conditions related to the issuance of the device to the student, including rules on care and maintenance of the device, any restrictions on personal uses of the device, and rules relating to installation or use of software on the device.  Regardless of location, use of District-owned devices must comply with school district acceptable use policies and other student conduct policies including (bullying, cyberbullying, and hazing).

Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-4.A(2)-(5), B(6) (April 7, 2014)

District-owned devices are the responsibility of the students to whom they are issued, both with respect to loss or damage of the device and with respect to misuse of the device.  When the recipient student allows another to use a District-owned device, the recipient student is jointly responsible for any misuse of the device.

Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-4.B(4) (April 7, 2014)

Students have no expectation of privacy regarding the contents or use of District-owned devices.  The devices shall have filtering software or other restrictions in place to prevent students from accessing inappropriate material. However, the failure of such filtering software or mechanisms does not prevent a student from being disciplined for accessing inappropriate material.  Teachers or administrators may directly or remotely view, control, search, or otherwise access District-owned devices at any time.

District-owned devices remain the property of the District.  Use of a District-owned device in violation of any District policy may result in the device being confiscated from the student, which may result in missed assignments, inability to complete required assessments, and possible loss of credit or academic grade consequences, in addition to any other appropriate disciplinary sanctions.

Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-4.B(3), (4) (April 7, 2014) 

Use of Student Electronic Devices—

Student electronic devices may be used during the school day, during school-sponsored activities or school-provided transportation as follows:

  1. Students may have electronic devices in their possession during the regular school day.
  2. The devices must remain out of sight during instructional time AND be turned off OR on a silent mode.
  3. During the school day, if students intentionally use or respond to electronic devices during instructional time or during times of prohibited use identified by teachers, electronic devices may be confiscated.
  4. Devices may be retrieved by individuals designated by the school. Students may also be subject to school discipline.
  5. A school shall establish a warning schedule for student violations which all school employees shall follow. Exceptions may be made for individual students or for specific time periods as warranted. Time periods shall be interpreted with flexibility.
  6. Student electronic devices must be either turned off or held in a secure place by the teacher, as determined by individual teacher, during class quizzes, tests and standardized assessments unless specifically allowed by statute, regulation, student IEP, or assessment directions.
    Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-4.B(1) (April 7, 2014)
  1. Student electronic devices inappropriately used or disclosed may be subject to search by school administrators based on reasonable suspicion.
  2. Student owned devices may not join or attempt to join or disrupt the District owned networks.

[Policy may allow for differences based on grade levels or age of students.]

Exceptions to the above use limitations regarding student electronic devices shall be made consistent with District and school policies, but in the judgment and discretion of individual teachers.  Specific potential exceptions are as following:

  1. Medical reasons
    1. School administrators may give permission for students to possess electronic devices for good cause shown if the devices do not distract from the instructional or education process.
  2. Parent request
    1. Parent(s) may request that a student possess an electronic device on active mode at all times during the school day, with the exception of during course or subject tests and standardized assessments. Teachers shall grant such requests for good cause shown. (Good cause may include medical needs or unusual family situations.)
      1. Parents shall make requests for exceptions to the school district/ school policy to the school principal, designee or individual teacher. Schools shall have forms available at the main office and in the counseling center for parent/student requests.
  3. Teacher permission
    1. A teacher may permit a student to have an electronic device in his possession at alltimes during a regular school day, including during assessments, based on a written504 plan, an IEP or legitimate circumstances as determined by the individual teacher.
  4. Emergency
    1. Students may use electronic devices in situations that threaten the health, safety or well-being of students (including themselves), school employees or others.

Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-4.D(4) (April 7, 2014)

Regardless of location, use of student electronic devices in relation to other students, staff, or any individual connected with the school must comply with bullying, cyberbullying, and hazing policies, and other student conduct policies.  Misuse of student electronic devices in a manner that causes disruption at school or school-sponsored activities may result in discipline under the school disciplinary policies (including where warranted suspension or expulsion) and may result in notification to law enforcement authorities.

Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-4.A(2), (4), (5), B(6) (April 7, 2014)

Use of a student electronic device in violation of this or other District policies may result in confiscation of the device as provided herein and in such other disciplinary sanctions as provided for under this or other student conduct policies.  In addition, where such use is in violation or believed to be in violation of an applicable law, regulation, or ordinance, school administrators or teachers may notify law enforcement or other appropriate authorities and the student may be subject to criminal or other penalties provided by law.

Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-4.B(2) (April 7, 2014)

Consequences for Violation of Policy—

Students will receive one warning prior to discipline for violation of this policy, as determined by the school.

Designated individuals, upon identification, may retrieve their child’s electronic device during school hours or by appointment.

A school may impose other consequences for a student’s violation of the electronic device policy only following notice of such policy to the school community. Such penalties are not exhaustive and more than one penalty may be imposed, if warranted. Such penalties may include:

  1. loss of electronic device privileges
  2. disciplinary letter
  3. in-school suspension
  4. suspension
  5. loss of extracurricular or honor privileges or recognition

If students are defiant and will not cooperate with school administrators and/or will not surrender electronic device(s), the designated school administrator may take appropriate action for the safety and well-being of the student and other students or employees at the school. The school principal or designee shall notify a parent immediately of additional penalties.

Notice to Students and Parents of Policy—

A copy of this policy shall be made available in printed form at the school or district offices and a copy of this policy or a clear electronic link to this policy shall be made available on the District's web site.  Individual school policies shall be made available in printed form at the school offices and a copy of those policies or a clear electronic link to those policies shall be made available on the school's web site.  Parents and students shall receive annual written notice of District and school electronic device policies, which may be satisfied by the website posting, publishing the policy in a school handbook or directory, sending the policy to the student’s home or any other reasonable means.

Utah Admin. Code R277-495-3.D (April 7, 2014)

Parents and students shall receive notice of changes in District or school electronic device policies in a timely manner and through reasonable means.

A copy of the most current policy shall always be available in the main office of the school and shall be posted online on the district website.

Schools may require that parents return a copy of the policy with signature indicating that parents have had access to the policy.

Information to parents should include exceptions to the policy and potential consequences for students. Information to parents shall provide clear information of how best to contact students during school hours or activities, in lieu of immediate contact by electronic device.

Students and parents shall be notified that law enforcement may be contacted, at school’s discretion, if circumstances warrant such contact.

Confiscated Student Electronic Devices—

Only licensed school personnel (unless other employees are specifically identified in policy) may confiscate student electronic devices. Licensed school employees are discouraged from searching or reviewing material or numbers stored on student electronic devices except under compelling circumstances. Licensed school employees may search an electronic device if the device is found by the employee for the limited purpose of determining the device’s owner.

Schools will do their best to guard and protect confiscated student electronic devices, but are not responsible for loss, damage, theft. Schools will make a good faith effort to notify parent(s) or designated individuals that a student's electronic device is in the school’s possession.  

Creative and Innovative Uses for All Electronic Devices—

With prior approval of the Principal, individual teachers and school employees may use electronic devices to communicate effectively with students and parents and to enhance instruction.  Such uses might include:

  1. notifying absent students of assignments;
  2. communicating with parents when students excel or if students fall behind or are absent; 
  3. parents notifying school when students are absent or tardy;
  4. teachers notifying students of news articles or events that would enhance discussion or student research;
  5. providing immediate feedback to students on written work or assignments.

Other Provisions—

Picture taking or video or audio recording by students is strictly forbidden in school or school activity private areas, such as locker rooms, counseling sessions, washrooms, and dressing areas.  Students are further prohibited from using electronic devices to transmit any such recordings.  Students are prohibited from using electronic devices to invade the reasonable privacy expectations of students or school staff or any person present at the school.

Utah Admin. Rules R277-495-4.D(1) (April 7, 2014)

Students bring their electronic devices on school property or to school activities at their own risk. The school is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged student electronic devices.

Students are strictly responsible for their own electronic devices. If devices are borrowed or taken and misused by non-owners, device owners are jointly responsible for the misuse of the device and policy violation(s) committed with the device.

Students and parents should be informed and understand that confiscated electronic devices may be subject to search by school officials.

A student’s penalties for violation(s) of an electronic device policy provision may vary depending upon the intentional nature of the violation, other disciplinary actions the student may have received and specific circumstances of the violation.