Sarasota schools considers cell phone ban

Most adults have cell phone and a growing number of children do, too. Mobile devices are handy, but they can also be a distraction.

That's why the Sarasota County School District is considering a cell phone ban. 

"I agree with my students, or my girls going to school with a cell phone," said parent Stephanie Gardner. "That’s how I connect with them before school and after school."

But she's on the fence.

"I believe that their phone should be turned off before they go into school but turned on when they get out," she said. 

That's the current school district policy, but board member Bridget Ziegler said it's gone to the wayside. 

"I'm challenging us to think more narrowly when they are in school to be present," she said Tuesday afternoon. 

The district's cell phone policy has been the same for seven years. Some board members believe cell phones in school are an unnecessary distraction. 

"We have a student who told me at Riverview High School that if she finds a teacher that is boring she’ll use her cell phone and tune out, but if she has such and such teacher who is just wonderful and she would never use her cellphone. What I’m saying is that is not her decision to make," said School Board Chair Jane Goodwin. 

Others believe cell phones can be used to help with research and classroom activities. 

"I think if a teacher wants to use the cellphones we should allow them too. I don’t like strict bans," said board member Caroline Zucker. 

The school district says the average student gets a cell phone around eight years old. Some believe that's just too young. 

"It's the development of learning and learning to cope without this device," said Ziegler. 

School board members will meet with principals and teachers to find out their thoughts on the proposed ban. 

They also want to hear from parents, who may email thoughts and suggestions to Scsnews@sarasotacountyschools.net

The topic will be brought up at the February 5 policy review meeting.