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Pay phones will be back

Molly Shore

Roberto Perez knows he’s not supposed to use his cell phone during

school hours. But Perez, a senior at John Burroughs High School, says

he does not have a choice because there are no pay phones on campus.

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“It just doesn’t make sense if you have to call your parents,” he

said recently.

Because of ongoing construction at Burroughs High and Burbank

High, pay phones at both schools have been removed, prompting

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students to violate the school district’s existing cell-phone policy.

Ali Kiafar, chief facilities and development superintendent for

Burbank Unified, said pay phones will be installed on both campuses,

but not until probably late November at the earliest.

At the end of the renovation project there will be three pay

phones on the Burroughs campus -- one at the Brian Hurst Gymnasium,

one in the new quad and possibly one in the area near the admini-

stration offices, Kiafar said.

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At Burbank High, two phones will be installed in the quad, two on

the inside corridors and one in the new parking structure, he said.

“We can put up to six [phones] in the quad,” Kiafar said. “We have

the conduit in place.”

Earlier this month, Burroughs High photography instructor Tim

Brehm asked the school board to consider loosening the district’s

existing cell-phone policy to allow students to use their phones

during morning nutrition breaks and at lunchtime.

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Brehm, who contends that students will be less tempted to talk on

their phones or send text messages during classes if restrictions are

relaxed, says a lack of pay phones on the Burroughs campus are partly

to blame for students violating the policy.

Since Brehm appeared before the board, Alexis Sheehy, the

district’s assistant superintendent for instruc- tional services, and

Hank Jannace, director of pupil services, have met with middle

school, high school and adult school principals to discuss amending

the policy, which bars students from using cell phones between 8 a.m.

and 3 p.m.

According to Sheehy, a policy change is unlikely.

“The principals all feel that the present policy is working well,”

she said. “However, the principals will speak to their staffs to get

input from teachers.”

The Leader, meanwhile, has received more than three dozen letters

from Burroughs students, most of whom favor loosening the policy

restrictions and question why students are prohibited from using

their cell phones if there are no pay phones on campus.

“Though students are allowed to use pay phones if they need to

make a call, they are nowhere to be found,” senior Rachel Ross wrote.


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