SARASOTA- Sarasota County School Board unanimously passed new restrictions on cell phones and electronic devices in the classroom.  Over two thousand parents, teachers, and students were surveyed over the new restrictions.

“They’re there to learn,” Goodwin said. “They’re there for instruction, I mean it’s very difficult to keep your attention, on the business of learning, and we want our students to be successful.”

Under the new guidelines:

  • Elementary School students need to keep devices on silent and put away.
  • Middle School students can only use devices under staff supervision.
  • High School Students can use devices in between periods and at lunch, as well as under staff supervision. If students are using headphones, they can only have on ear bud in at a time.

Schools are focusing on using their own tech in the classrooms.

“We are so lucky in Sarasota to have so much technology in Sarasota that our children have access to,” Assistant Superintendent of Academics Laura Kingsley said. “So it’s not an issue.”

School Board Member Brigid Ziegler says reducing cell phone use can also help students mental health.

“You use a cell phone but what are you connecting to,” Ziegler said. “And it’s all about the social media and the instant gratification, the lack of face to face conversations, so that’s one of those things that we’re fostering our children to be successful.”

The new guidelines are coming with new enforcement; if a student’s device is taken away parents will need to pick it up.

“My request to families,” Ziegler said. “Is be familiar with what our new policy is, talk to their students because as parents I’m sure they don’t want to come to school to pick up a device, but as a community we can work together to help our children be successful in our learning environment.”

The new guidelines will be in effect at the start of the next school year.