HomeSouth CarolinaNew proposal could tighten phone rules in South Carolina public schools

New proposal could tighten phone rules in South Carolina public schools

Columbia, South Carolina – South Carolina public school students might have to stow away their phones during class starting next year, according to a proviso proposed in the 2025 state budget. This plan surfaces as various school districts statewide have already implemented their own phone policies. Ellen Weaver, State Superintendent of Education, emphasized the need to address the influence of phones on students’ mental health.

In her interview with WLTX, Weaver underscored the importance of educators zeroing in on the fundamental role of schools to tackle the mental health challenges students face. However, she clarified that the proposal isn’t an outright ban on phones. Instead, it requires schools to follow guidelines set by the State Board of Education to secure funding.

“We need to create a benchmark of uniformity on this issue for students in every classroom,” said Weaver. “Because every single student and every single teacher deserves a safe and academically challenging classroom.”

Weaver suggested that one potential solution would be having students secure their phones in pouches during school hours. She explained that schools could either finance this measure themselves or apply for School Safety Grants from the Department of Education. Patrick Kelly, representing the Palmetto State Teachers Association, and many other teachers have voiced concerns about the impact of phones on classroom dynamics and behavior.

Read also: Richland One students 16 and above could secure paid summer jobs and internships in new district program

Kelly shared examples of students using phones to record fights and send photos to one another via AirDrop. He also acknowledged concerns some parents might have about reaching their children during emergencies.

“Schools still have landlines. In some cases it may be the first time a student gets to use land line,” Kelly told WLTX. “As much as it may sound appealing for your child to be able to immediately text or call during an emergency situation in a school, that’s actually counterproductive to the school’s ability to keep kids safe.”

South Carolina public school students might have to stow away their phones during class under new proposal for next year's SC budget

Read also: Florence County School District 2 passes $7 million bond referendum with overwhelming support

The House and Senate still need to work out the differences between their budget proposals. The budget takes effect July 1.

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