Texas School Districts Start Banning Cell Phone Use

As more evidence shows the phones to be an educational distraction, schools in Cleburne, Texas, are telling students they must turn them off.

by Ashley Rose, Cleburne Times-Review / January 24, 2019
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 (TNS) — As technology has changed over the years, residents now have their own computer in their hands they can use on a daily basis to contact family members, peruse social media or to stream movies and TV shows.

Some reports suggest that mobile devices are becoming a distraction to students while in school, with many districts — including some in the United States — banning them from campuses. Local school officials said its cell phone policies differ from campus to campus.

Over the summer, the French government passed a law banning cell phones in school, according to CNN, which came into effect at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year and impacts students in kindergarten through ninth grade. Some schools across the United States are enacting similar policies as a way to decrease distractions for students.

A study published in the Journal of Communication Education found that students without mobile phones performed better in several different areas, according to CNBC.

“They wrote down 62 percent more information in their notes, were able to recall more detailed information from class and scored a full letter grade-and-a-half higher on a multiple choice test than those who were actively using their mobile phones,” according to the study.

According to the Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, with 77 percent owning a smartphone. The center also reports that 95 percent of teenagers have or have access to a smartphone, and 45 percent of teens say they are online on a near-constant basis.

Cleburne ISD Community Relations Director Lisa Magers said cellphones are not permitted at TEAM School, which was a campus administrative decision.

In the student handbooks for Cleburne High School, Smith and Wheat middle schools and all the elementary campuses, the district permits students to have personal “mobile devices,” but they must remain turned off during the instructional day, including during all testing unless they are being used for approved instructional purposes.

“A student must have approval to possess other telecommunications devices such as netbooks, laptops, tablets or other portable computers,” according to the handbook. “The use of mobile telephones or any device capable of capturing images is strictly prohibited in locker rooms or restroom areas while at school or at a school-related or school-sponsored event.

“If a student uses a telecommunications device without authorization during the school day, the device will be confiscated. The student may pick up the confiscated telecommunication device from the principal’s office for a fee of $15.”

Magers said the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program lists cell phone violation/misuse of a wireless communication devices as text messaging tests or sharing school work information with others, taking pictures, sending pictures, “sexting,” cyberbullying and/or displaying pictures or other visual materials with a cell phone.

For more information about the report, visit pewresearch.org.

Information in this report came from CNBC.

©2019 the Cleburne Times-Review (Cleburne, Texas). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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