VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A local school district is re-evaluating its student cell phone policy. The Virginia Beach school board is set to vote on the revisions during its Aug. 23 meeting and parents are split over the issue.

The last time Beach schools updated a student cell phone policy was in 2015. That’s when phones were mainly used for calls and texts. Now, with the popularity of social media and the distractions that come with it, school administrators say something needs to change.

In a school board work session on Aug. 9, Chief Schools Officer Matt Delaney revealed 1,051 cell phone violations were reported throughout the school system during the 2021-2022 school year.

The proposed district-wide policy aims at limiting distractions in class. High school students are contributing the most to the problem.

“Students may not have personal cell phones, personal communication devices or accessories on or in use during instructional time,” Delaney stated. “We considered several factors when deciding to prohibit cell phones, earbuds and other accessories during instructional time.”

Data from fellow students, teachers and administrators showed phone usage in class hindered a student’s ability to focus and led to declined mental health and a negative impact on learning. The proposed policy intends to maximize student engagement.

“The phone would still be available to the student in their backpack or in a designated place in the classroom so certainly in any emergency the phone is still available,” VBCPS board chair Carolyn Rye told 10 On Your Side.

The policy would prohibit students from keeping a phone in their pocket.

“There’s a very thorough communication plan in place to communicate all this to families through the principals,” Rye explained.

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