Cry of the Hawk

The student news site of North Harford High School

Cry of the Hawk

Cry of the Hawk


Should the northern Harford County area have its own 'snow zone' for inclement weather days?

  • YES (92%, 60 Votes)
  • NO (8%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 65

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HCPS proposes new, adjusted policies for flag display, cell phones, controversial issues; public comment welcome

The Harford County Board of Education has proposed three policies which were recently open for public comment. The policies include such topics labeled as “display of flags,” “portable communications devices,” and “controversial issues.” 

     As stated by the HCPS website, the policy covers a lot of different scenarios regarding flag displays in places like classrooms, conference rooms, school offices, gyms and other school related grounds. The proposed policy allows for no other flag to be displayed except the “Maryland flag, Harford County flag  flags used as part of a temporary unit of study within the approved curriculum, flags that denote a recognition of achievement and are approved by the Superintendent…”  Additionally, the policy also clarifies that flags denoting “MPSSAA  or other similar sport tournament banners and flags recognizing colleges or universities  or any professional sports teams, and flags of countries representing the many nations of the world”  are also acceptable.

     English teacher Mrs. Joanna Dallam shares that flags, “like our clothing,” are an “expression of self,” and an “expression of a larger ideology,” as well as a “way to belong, or a way to exclude.” She adds, “[flags] are really not that different from clothing.” This comparison made by Dallam continues, as she states “any policy that prohibits or discourages people from expressing themselves in a harmless way, should be discouraged.” She finishes, “I’m less interested in censoring freedom of expression, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone.”

        The next policy addresses cell-phones, explaining that although electronics are encouraged “to supplement instruction and learning,” it is proven that students using cell phones during class are not “fully engaged in learning.” The policy then goes onto list expectations for cellular devices in elementary, middle, and high schools.  For high schools, cell phones are proposed to be “permitted on a student’s person [and] must not be visible and is deactivated in the educational environment.” 

     French teacher Mrs. Larissa Arist shares her own opinions about this proposal. “As the policy states, I think it’s fantastic to use technology in engaging ways in the classroom,” so she is “in support of being able to use technology and cell-phones when it enhances the learning that’s going on.” However, Arist “agrees” that cell-phones can be “distracting to students,” as their “minds are focused” on the “beeps and buzzes” from students phones. She finishes, that although she can not state if she “supports or [doesn’t] support,” as it is a  “complex issue,” she does, however, feel that there needs to be “some kind of limit of access to personal cell-phones during classroom instruction time.”

     The topics regarding the cell-phones and controversial issues were open for public comment until March 15, although the display of flags is open until March 28. 

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