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Sarasota County School Board could ban cell phones from students

Your phone could be making you sick
Posted at 11:27 AM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 08:13:13-05

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — From Pre-K to 12th grade nearly every student has a cell phone. But they may soon be banned at schools in Sarasota County.

"I see no reason for a child to be using a cell phone in class in elementary," said Sarasota School Board chair Jane Goodwin.

Some teachers say cell phones are helpful learning tools. But, school board members who are tasked with updating the district's cell phone policy question if the devices are more of a distraction.

Board member Bridget Ziegler thinks there should be "a ban on cell phones bell to bell for [ all] students."

Sarasota would be the first district in the state with a cell phone ban, if that happens.

Roberta Duban volunteers at Riverview High School. She said cell phones are distracting, but they're also needed.

"I don't think they should use them in school," Duban said. "But I have nothing wrong with kids having them for security."

The security issue is one of the reasons some board members are against the idea of a ban.

"I don't like strict bans," vice chair Caroline Zucker, said. "Because there's no leeway for anything if you do a strict ban."

The board has asked school officials to research cell phone usage at each school. That data will help the board make a final decision.

"Sometimes I think when you have a tool that can be misused... the temptation is to ban it from all students," said Chief Academic Officer Dr. Laura Kingsley. "I hope we don't get quite there."

If you would like to get involved in the discussion you can do so by emailing

The board is discussing the issue with teachers, parents and students. No official decision has been made at this time. District officials say they are conducting a study to see what the best move will be.