Sarasota County Schools considering restrictions to cellphone use

Schools consider new cell phone policy

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The school board in Sarasota County is considering new rules that would restrict students' cellphone use.

Officially, the policy of the Sarasota County School Board is that cellphones should be turned off and put away during school hours. But not every classroom follows that rule, so the school board is looking to put into effect new rules that can be enforced.

On June 18, the school board will discuss the latest proposed changes, which include allowing students to have cellphones with the following restrictions:

  • Elementary students will have devices silenced and put away at all times - devices will not be asked to be used for instructional purposes
  • Middle School students will have devices silenced and put away except when under the supervision of a staff member for use during specific class instruction
  • High School students will have devices silenced and put away except during class transitions and lunch periods - devices can be used for class instruction providing students are supervised
  • For middle and high school students, alternate devices will be employed in class rather than a cellphone
  • No one will be allowed to use a cellphone or other electronic recording device during testing

Not all school board members believe cellphone use should even be allowed in schools, even for learning purposes. ABC7 spoke to board member Bridget Ziegler in February, who said, "It's not just during class - it's the culture that it has kind of created. Especially with social media and them having access. I think as a parent of young kids and just seeing that generation, really wanting to make sure that they understand how to communicate with one and other verbally during lunchtime or passing period and not just have their faces down."

None of the proposed changes have been approved or adopted at this time.

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