High school students in Charles County might be allowed to bring cell phones to school if the Board of Education adopts a policy change to be discussed at its monthly meeting Tuesday.

For more than a year, some students and parents have pushed the school administration to soften the ban on cell phones in schools, citing the desire to reach family members in the event of a terrorist attack or other emergency.

Although students in Calvert and St. Mary's counties can bring the phones to school as long as they are turned off and out of sight, Charles students are barred from bringing cell phones on school grounds. An exception allows student drivers to keep cell phones in their cars in the school parking lots with their parents' written permission.

The Charles County Association of Student Councils has been meeting with the five high school principals to negotiate the new policy, coming up with a proposal that would allow students to bring cell phones to school. But as in neighboring counties, the devices would have to be turned off and not visible inside the school building.

The Maryland General Assembly repealed its stance on prohibiting portable devices such as cell phones on school grounds in October 2001, but Charles County schools did not make a change. If approved, the new policy would take effect in the fall.