ARIZONA NEWS

‘Away for a Day’: Scottsdale Unified implements cellphone policy, tracking app for parents

Aug 10, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 6:12 am

SUSD School Bus...

Scottsdale Unified School District bus (Facebook Photo/Chaparral High School SUSD)

(Facebook Photo/Chaparral High School SUSD)

SCOTTSDALE- School is back in session and one Valley school district has implemented new policies to cut down on distractions and keep track of students.  

For the 2023-2024 school year, the Scottsdale Unified School District has implemented the “Away for the Day” policy for students in Pre-K through 8th grade. The policy requires students to put their cellphones and smart watches away during school hours.  

This idea has been in the works for years, according to SUSD. 

Josh Freidman director of safety and security for the district, said the goal is to cut down on distractions in the classroom.  

“When kids have the phones out it’s always a distraction whether it’s to play a game, text a friend, look up random things,” Friedman said.  

He added the use of cellphones in schools at times has led to bullying.  

“If there’s a fight at school or something that is funny to one, but maybe embarrassing to others, kids will airdrop or take pictures and send it all over to people at the school,” Friedman said.  

New app helps parents keep track of kids

Parents can still contact their children despite the policy being in place. Freidman said parents can send their children a message, which they’ll see once school is out.  

“They can contact a student through the office, the way that it was prior to cellphones being so easily accessible for everybody,” Friedman said. 

Several middle schools piloted the “Away for a Day” program last school year.  

SUSD introduced a new app this year, which allows parents to track their children when on the school bus. The app is called Stopfinder which allows parents to know if their children are on the bus and when they got off the bus.  

Friedman explained students scan onto the buses with their district-issued identification cards.  

“The students scan to get on a bus and then the bus itself is tracked through the app, so you can tell when the bus is getting close to your stop and it then it also tracks when the student gets off the bus,” Friedman said.  

Friedman added the tool is essential for younger students who can easily miss or get confused about their stop.

ID scanning on the buses also helps the district provide more specific information on where a student might have last been seen if they do not come home.  

“We can actually say they got off the bus at this time and this location, which gives not only the district, but the parent and the police department somewhere to start searching as opposed to searching an entire bus route,” Friedman said.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Mugshot of Brandie Gotch, who faces multiple charges for an alleged rampage against children at a P...

Kevin Stone

West Valley mom accused of driving through park, injuring a child, while her kids were in truck

A woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly driving her pickup truck through a West Valley park and hitting a child after she thought her kids were being bullied.

17 minutes ago

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the stat...

KTAR.com

Former Arizona education employees accused of stealing money from ESA program

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the state's school voucher program for personal use, authorities announced Thursday.

59 minutes ago

An Arizona man was indicted after allegedly attempting to smuggle firearms into Mexico on Jan. 23, ...

KTAR.com

Arizona man indicted after allegedly attempting to smuggle firearms into Mexico

An Arizona man was indicted after allegedly attempting to smuggle firearms into Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.

2 hours ago

The view of a Phoenix police cruiser with yellow crime scene tape over the rear panel...

KTAR.com

Suspect claims self-defense after deadly shooting at Phoenix motel

A suspect claimed self-defense after an altercation escalated into a deadly shooting at a Phoenix motel on Wednesday evening.

3 hours ago

A still from surveillance video shows a possible abduction at a Buckeye, Arizona, gas station on Fe...

KTAR.com

Buckeye police investigating possible assault, abduction caught on surveillance video

Buckeye police are investigating a possible assault and abduction related to an incident caught on video by a gas station surveillance camera last week.

4 hours ago

Aerial view of Rinchem's new warehouse in Surprise, Arizona....

Kevin Stone

Chemical supply chain company Rinchem opens custom-built hazmat warehouse in Surprise

Rinchem, a global chemical supply chain management company, expanded its Arizona presence by opening a custom-built hazmat warehouse in the West Valley.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

‘Away for a Day’: Scottsdale Unified implements cellphone policy, tracking app for parents