Ohio school district bans cell phones in class. How about Tampa schools?

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BEXLEY, Ohio — The Bexley City School District has implemented a new district-wide policy that will ban cell phone and electronic devices in its Ohio classrooms.

The new cell phone and electronic policy will start in the next school year and includes phones, smartwatches, headphones and other electronic devices, WCMH reports.

Dr. Kimberly Pietsch Miller, superintendent for the school district, told WCMH students will be allowed to have phones on them, but that they will need to turn them off during class. Miller said it’s due to safety concerns of students traveling from school to home. 

The school district said it came to the decision — in part — based on research from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, which claimed the devices were a distraction since teens are impulsive. 

The principal of Bexley Middle School, Jason Caudill, seems to agree with the new policy.

“The constant barrage of social media and temptations with games on phones we think the best learning environment is one that doesn’t have phones,” Caudill told the news outlet.

Students will be allowed to use cellphones in their lockers and before and after school, CBS affiliate WBNS reports

Tampa Bay Schools’ cell phone and electronic device policies

After learning about the policy shift, 10News decided to reach out to some of our local Florida counties about their own cell phone and electronic device rules.

Hillsborough County schools

Students are allowed to use cell phones and electronic devices during school hours for educational purposes, such as part of a teacher’s instruction, research, or other help at school. Electronic devices and cell phones are only allowed in “approved areas,” and cell phone conversations are not allowed unless advised by a school staff member. 

“Students must comply with the directives of school/district staff regarding when and where electronic devices can be used,” the school district adds on its website

Manatee County schools

The spokesperson for the school district told 10News over the phone that the cell phone and electronic device policy is usually determined by the principal of the school. 

The district-wide policy for Manatee County schools says students are allowed to use cameras (both photographic and video), laptops, smartphones, and e-readers such as Kindle devices on school property for educational or instructional purposes only. The student can use the devices to take notes, record a class lecture or write papers with the teacher’s permission and supervision. 

Pasco County Schools

Students are allowed to use “electronic equipment/devices” during school instruction for educational or instructional purposes with the teacher’s permission and supervision. Students are allowed to use the devices during “non-instructional time,” as long as the students don’t violate other school policies, such as using devices for fraud, theft, or academic dishonesty.

Students are not allowed to use the devices/resources in a manner or send material that is considered threatening, harmful, humiliating, harassing, embarrassing, or intimidating. Students are also not allowed to take pictures or videos of other students, staff members, or other people in the school during a school-related activity without permission. 

Students are not allowed to use devices or cell phones in places like locker rooms, shower facilities, restrooms, and other places where privacy is expected. 

The principal of the school has the authority to make specific determinations where electronic devices are allowed and prohibited.

Pinellas County schools

Pinellas County schools’ specific cell phone and electronic policy is typically determined by the principal, a spokesperson told 10News over the phone.

The district-wide policy for Pinellas County schools advises parents getting in touch with children through the child’s school office during school hours. Students are allowed to have cell phones and electronic devices in school, on school property, at school-related functions, as long as they are off and away from sight during school hours. 

Students are not allowed to use their cell phones or other devices to view websites blocked to students during school-sponsored activities, as well. Cell phones and devices must be turned off on district buses unless allowed by the driver. Cell phones and electronic devices are not allowed in locker rooms, classrooms, bathrooms, and/or swimming pools. 

Students must get approval from a school administrator to keep a phone powered on and in sight. 

Sarasota County schools

Students are allowed to use cell phones in school for educational purposes as long as the student is within the Student Code of Conduct and School Board Policy

A spokesperson with the Sarasota County School District said the county considered banning cell phones, especially in elementary schools, but made the decision not to.

The student must also have permission to use the device from a school staff member. Students are not allowed to access websites blocked to students during school-sponsored activities. Students are not allowed to have cell phones during testing, even while they are off. Students cannot use devices in a threatening or intimidating way.

All Tampa Bay area schools say students are subject to disciplinary action and/or confiscation if they violate school district policy. 

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