PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Pasco County students may have to put their cellphones away for good while in school.

Superintendent Kurt Browning says he wants to implement an all-out ban of phones on campuses by the start of the 2024-25 school year.

“They don’t need to have them out. There’s no reason to have them out,” Browning said.

The school district implemented a new cellphone policy at the start of the 2023-24 school year.

  • Kindergarten through 5th grade: No cellphones allowed
  • Middle school: Cellphones allowed during lunch time, when authorized by teacher
  • High school: Cellphones allowed during lunch, in between classes, when authorized by teacher

According to the superintendent, so far, the rules have improved student engagement and prevented bullying. Now, Browning is ready to take the next step: turn the restrictions into a ban.

“I believe one of the major reasons we’re not moving forward academically is because of cellphones,” Browning said.

District leaders are also hoping clearing cellphones from campuses will cut down on fights in some school. Footage of altercations at Zephyrhills High School and Anclote High School have previously surfaced on social media.

“The thing that you always seen in those videos is kids with their cellphones out. Why do they do that? They do that so they can post it to their Twitter account or to their TikTok account and get likes,” Browning said, “It’s sensationalism and the way you combat that is you have an all-out ban.”

The head of the district is prepared for backlash from parents due to the idea.

“Parents will complain, they will flare up about ‘I want to make sure my child is safe’. You have my assurance as parents that we will let you know that your child is safe,” Browning said.

The superintendent is already talking with school administrators about the proposal. He believes school board members, who are required to approve the policy, will be open to the stricter policy.