A local district looks to ban students using cellphones entirely during school hours

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange County Public Schools is looking to ban students from taking out their cellphones during the school.


The measure, which leaders discussed this week, goes beyond a ban that the state passed this year that forbids TikTok on all school and internet devices. The board is proposing banning cell phones from the time the morning bell rings for class until the time students go home, including during lunch and recess.

“Our number-one concern is to make sure our kids are safe,” OCPS superintendent Maria Vazquez said. “And what’s happening with social media with bullying, with the fights, almost all of them tie back to the cell phones.”

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High school student Diamond Williams said it’s a “good idea.”

“Some kids nowadays don’t like to pay attention and they stay on their phones 24/7,” she said. “In school, it’s not really a need.”

The proposal comes on the heels of House Bill 379, which goes into effect July 1. It requires each school district in the state to prevent students from accessing TikTok and other social media through the school’s internet.

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However, some board members think it’s a step too far.

“I just feel like it’s up to the parent to parent, and by us saying you can’t use it on lunchtime because we’re forcing socialization, we’re parenting by forcing socialization,” vice chair Angie Gallo said.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.