EDITORS NOTE - This message comes from a newly elected School Board
member in Little Falls. From my perspective, Dan is valuable asset to
the Community. He and I do not always share the same views but I am
convinced that he has the Heart of the Community and local Parents
behind him. The information he discusses is relevant to all Communities
in MN. Please read his thoughts, give Feedback to your local School on
this. Very shortly you will be faced with many other such decisions in
your School District and if you choose NOT to participate, the results
will definitely affect your children and community for years to come.

Hello all. As your newly Elected School Board member, I am looking for some
feedback from within the Community.

1st, a little backstory... Jan 10-13th, I was able to attend the MN School
Board Association's Leadership Training and Conference. During the
conference, I was able to attend multiple sessions/presentations led by
other School Districts leadership from around the State.

I think we can all agree, that we send our children to school to learn, in
what we expect to be a safe environment, Free from Bullying and or

On that subject, one particular brief/presentation by the Owatonna
Superintendent & HS Principle really caught my attention & resonated in my
heart. As you can imagine, with their district being closer to the
Metropolis, they face a much higher level of the sociological & societal
issues that our children deal with at school today, than we do here in
Little Falls.

Disciplinary issues from Bullying & Disrespect was very prevalent in the
Owatonna District. They identified that Social media, combined with Cell
phones were the primary catalysts for their student distraction, disrespect
towards teachers, as well as & most specifically cyber bullying. Is it
merely coincidence that Cyber bullying just so happens to also be the
primary cause & catalyst to verbal & or physical bullying.

What did the Owatonna School District do about these issues that were so
prevalent in their Schools?

They updated their District's Parent Handbooks for each individual school &
updated their District Discipline Policy to reflect the Handbook changes.
If a parent needs to contact their child during school hours, and or if the
spouse of a teacher needs to reach their spouse, they need to call the
school office.

Elementary & Middle School students are not allowed access to their phones
during school hours. They must either be secured in their lockers, and or
kept in their Back Packs. The 1st time they are caught with their phone out
during school hours, it is immediately confiscated & taken to the Principals
office, and the student has to go to the office to get it back at the end
of the school day.

The 2nd time they are caught with their phone out, it is immediately
confiscated again and taken to the Principals office. However, this time the
student is not allowed to pick their phone back up at the end of the day,
their parents or parent need to come to the school to retrieve the phone &
to review & re-sign the Handbook agreement. Re-signing the Handbook is
their acknowledging that if their student violates the Handbook policy a
3rd time, they will be outright banned from having a cell phone on school

Use of a cell phone for any type of Bullying, Hazing & or Rumor spreading
that leads to Bullying is grounds for an immediate ban to phone privileges
while on school grounds/property.

The same policy & disciplinary actions stand for High-school students, with
the sole exceptions being they can have their phone out and use it during
their lunch hour and study hall.

The same use policy stands for Teachers of the District. They are not to
have their phones out during school hours. They're the Adults entrusted
with the education of our/the children. Teachers/Educators are therefore
expected to teach/lead by example in the Classroom.

I firmly believe that if our schools had Handbook Agreements such as
Owatonna's regarding cell phone use & Discipline, the very traggic &
traumatizing incident that occurred at our Middle School in late Nov/early
Dec would've been prevented.

What are the benefits of this policy you ask?

The Owatonna School District saw a 70% reduction in disciplinary issues of
any kind, within the 1st three months of the new school year under the new
Parent Handbook Agreements. They also saw a dramatic increase in student
positivity and interaction. This was clearly evidenced to them from
observing more student conversations and them working together to help each
other understand assignments, and playing together with everyone on the
playground. The most beneficial result of their policy changes, was
improved test scores, due to students being less distracted during class,
which improves focus, understanding & learning.

So my question to you as the Community/Parents of the children is this:

Knowing the positive impacts and results that the much more Diverse,
Sociologically & Societally challenged Owatonna School District
witnessed/experienced, would you support this kind of policy change for our
Little Falls District?

Thank You for your time.


Dan Schilling – Hello all. As your newly Elected School… | Facebook


  1. I completely agree with this! I went through middle/high school in the early-mid 90’s, and even though we had issues, it’s nothing like what my junior and senior in high school are reporting now. The lack of healthy social interaction is alarming. Cell phones have their place, but not in the classrooms!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *