No cell phones in class? That's the goal of a Kentucky bill that's gaining buzz in the legislature
Efforts to keep cell phones out of the hands of students during class are moving through the General Assembly. House Bill 383 would mandate local districts adopt policies barring students from using their smartphones during instructional time.
Preventing students from basking in the addictive glow of their cell phones during class may be a case of easier-legislated-than-done.
During a committee hearing Tuesday, Rep. Tina Bojanowki, a teacher, raised questions about the practicality of the bill and whether people in her profession would be saddled with yet another difficult assignment.
"How much of a burden would it then put on teachers to enforce that decision, and dealing with students who push back," she said, "Another real important one is you have to ensure that you address the earbuds, because a student may not look like they're on their phone but they're totally tuned out."
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Josh Bray, a Republican from Mt. Vernon, said the idea is to give administrators more authority to enforce "no cell phone" rules but leave some leeway on discipline.
"As far as how it will be enforced or what happens when there's pushback, school systems already have disciplinary policies that follow this, so I didn't think it was important to put in there "shall be confiscated" or something like that, because those decisions are best made at the local level," Bray replied.
There would be exceptions — notably during emergencies or if students are directed to use cell phones as part of classroom exercises.
According to The Hill, in 2020, government data found "almost 80 percent of schools banned cellphones for nonacademic purposes, but enforcement varied widely around the nation."
Kentucky's bill, which is comparatively limited at less than a page long, is now on its way to the House.