Cellphones banned from use in school in Rock Hill this year

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Rock Hill students who head back to school on Monday will no longer be able to use cellphones during school hours.

Leaders made the change saying the phones have become a distraction from learning, but some parents and students told Channel 9′s Tina Terry this will create more problems and could even be dangerous.

The policy says kids can have cellphones, but they just can’t pull them out and use them. One parent told Terry that kids need their phones for emergencies, so she thinks the policy is a bad idea.

“Sometimes kids have bad days,” Rosie Jones said. “They’re not doing too well in school issues.”

Jones said she’s always a phone call or text away when it comes to her three children. But she said Rock Hill Schools is taking away her kids’ ability to communicate with her in an emergency.

“He might go in the bathroom and call me and say ‘mom I’m having issues,’” she said.

The district recently implemented a policy saying students have to turn phones off and put them away -- out of sight -- during school hours.

“We have an environment that is free of distractions, and the cellphones have become very big distractions on our campuses,” said Keith Wilks, the assistant superintendent of support services.

“It’s a modern-day tool now, and for you to try and take it out of school, it’s going to cause a whole lot of conflict,” Jones said.

But some parents agree with district leaders, saying the change will enhance learning.

“I think it’s a distraction,” said parent Ruth Harris. “I think that there are negative things happening on social media, and not having them out during the school day is a good idea.”

Other districts

Channel 9 reached out to several local school districts to find out what their policies are on student cellphone use.

In Rowan County, the district leaves it up to the school to make the policy. There is none for Rowan-Salisbury Schools as a whole.

In Iredell County, the district says students attending Iredell-Statesville Schools must turn their phones off during instructional times unless authorized. Read more here.

In Union County, students can use their phones in class with limitations. Read more here.

In Mecklenburg County, students cannot use their phones in class. Read more here.

In Lancaster County, there is no specific policy on cellphones. The district leaves that up to the school’s discretion.

To view Rock Hill Schools’ complete policy and associated consequences, click here.

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