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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Cellphone bans spread: 'This has got to stop'

Schools across the country are banning cell phones in hopes of reducing distractions and refocusing students on academics, writes Donna St. George in the Washington Post.

“We basically said, ‘This has got to stop,’” said Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli. “We’ve got academic issues that are not going to be fixed … if our students continue to sit on their phones.”

Some blame social media for teenagers' poor mental health, St. George writes. A number of school systems have filed suit against the platforms.

In many schools, "students slip their phones into locking Yondr pouches (about $16 each) that they carry with them all day and that they open by tapping it against a magnetic device as they leave,' she writes.

Principal Megan Wapner rolled out the pouches at her K-8 school in Philadelphia this year for students in fourth grade to eighth grade. Now, she said, she sees children talk to each other at lunch, rather than text or scroll. If a parent needs to reach a student during school hours, school staff promptly relay messages, she said.

In Kansas, Wichita teachers asked for a cellphone ban as part of contract negotiations.

Last year, Brush, Colorado Superintendent Bill Wilson "said nearly all of student discipline issues" involved phones, writes St. George. "Social media posts and texts during school hours often led to conflicts, bullying or other infractions."

Now that students aren't allowed to look at their phones in class or the hallways, Wilson "sees more interaction between teachers and students, more focus, less conflict in hallways."

Florida has banned cellphone use in class, unless directed by a teacher "for educational purposes," reports Ryan Dailey in the Orlando Weekly. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that also limits the use of the social-media platform TikTok on school grounds.

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