Wiregrass schools tighten cellphone policy in classrooms | WDHN
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Wiregrass schools tighten cellphone policy in classrooms | WDHN

WIREGRASS, Ala. (WDHN) — Some Wiregrass school systems are not following the rules of states that completely ban cellphone use in public schools during classes, such as Florida and Virginia, but they are taking decisive steps.

“I certainly think cell phones have their uses, but what I’ve seen in schools lately is that they’re more of a distraction than a help in doing good,” said Superintendent Becky Birdsong.

Student distraction during classes was the reason Virginia and Florida decided to ban cellphones.

“Social media can wait, it’s not that important, it’s much more important to worry about what’s happening in the classroom,” said Gov. Ron Desantis.

“They are such a distraction in schools that they are addicted to them, and there is so much screen time,” Birdsong said.

Phone use in the classroom also impacts students’ mental health – studies show that students spend more than five hours a day on their phones, mostly on social media.

Wiregrass school principals say they are trying to protect students and make sure they are learning in their classrooms.

Schools in Geneva County have previously allowed students to use cellphones during recess and lunch, but this year students were banned from using their cellphones during the day to avoid problems such as taking photos or videos of others.

“Ask them to always turn off their phones, and during breaks and lunch, talk to their peers, chat and have conversations. We think it’s important to have a phone with them so that parents can reach them after school,” she said.

DCS also prohibits cell phones in classrooms, but they are allowed in students’ lockers. Dale County students may only use cell phones in class if the teacher allows it as part of the class.

While Wiregrass schools do not ban cellphones, Alabama schools may ban students from owning them after the state board of education passed a resolution this year.

Montgomery Public Schools banned cellphones during school hours, and disciplinary incidents dropped by a third.

“If you ban them, they will find a way to use them, so we will ask them to turn them off and be respectful, and you can use them before and after school,” she said.