SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A crackdown on cell phones!

Sarasota County schools are considering a new restrictive cell phone policy for students.

The new rules will impact students at all grade levels. 

Eight-year-old Kaley Pompey owns her own cell phone but her mother Kathryn makes her put it away during school hours.

“I send my kids to school to learn and when you’re on your cell phone you’re distracted,” said Kathryn Pompey.

The Sarasota County School Board agrees. After much discussion and public input, the board has crafted the following policy:

Elementary students will have devices silenced and put away at all times. They will not be asked to use their personal devices for instructional purposes.

Middle School students will have devices silenced and put away except when under the supervision of a staff member for use during specific class instruction.

High school students will have devices silenced and put away except during transitions and lunch periods, and when under the supervision of a staff member for use during specific class instruction. At no time can students have devices blocking their ability to hear instructions.

If a middle or high school staff member allows personal electronic devices for instructional purposes they will also provide alternate school device options.

Students may never use electronic devices on school property or at a school-sponsored activity to access and/or view inappropriate Internet websites, including those that are blocked to students at school.

During testing students may not possess any electronic or recording device(s) at their desk, clipped to their belt, in their pocket, or anywhere within reach, even if the device is turned off or the student is not using it. If a student is found to be in possession of any electronic device during testing, his or her test must be invalidated.

“I kinda like that rule, I kinda like taking the cell phones away because our kids are so addicted to the cell phones that they’re not paying attention in class or they’re sneaking on the cell phones and not paying attention in class,” said Pompey.

Parent Brian Heffernan said: “I’m all for it, I think its too much of a distraction, I think kids should be concentrating on school work, I think if they’re worrying about talking to their friends and texting its become an epidemic.”

Parent Brianna Delgado disagrees. She feels the new policy is too restrictive.

“Nowadays it’s important for parents to be in contact with their kids at all times,” said Delgado. “How you gonna get a hold of them if you can’t reach them? It’s a scary world we live in these days, so to not have any contact with them, I don’t think it’s ok.”

School board member Bridget Ziegler would prefer to have an all-out cell phone ban for students K-12.

“We really will lean on the parents to support that initiative but ultimately I think it comes down to- we are in a technological age, it’s great. But they’re, K through 12, they’re there to learn so any way we can enhance the learning environment and reduce distractions I think we should, as policymakers, be working toward that direction,” said Ziegler.

The school board will vote on the issue at their next meeting on June 18th at 3 p.m. The public will be allowed to weigh in.