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Bibb County Schools considers banning cell phones, personal electronic devices at school

Bibb Schools' policy would prohibit the use of personal devices for most students with a few exceptions

MACON, Ga. — The Bibb County school board is considering prohibiting students from using their cell phones at school. The board discussed the idea at last week's meeting. They also may ban other personal electronic devices at school.

Destin White is a junior at Central High School who says being virtual during the pandemic made it challenging to focus on schoolwork.

"Personally, when I'm in the classroom and I don't have my cellphone, it's just me and my paperwork," White said.

Then he returned to the classroom, and at the start of this school year, Central High School implemented a "no phones" policy.

"This year, while coming back into school, being in person, and not having my cellphone as much as I would have my freshman or my sophomore year, it has improved my way of learning, and it has also improved my grades," White said.

Shameka Walker, a mom with a daughter at Central High, says she's all for taking the policy districtwide.

 "Everybody is texting and in the games and stuff, so I think without that, she can focus on her studies without being distracted by other peers as well," Walker said.

Bibb Schools' policy would prohibit the use of personal devices for most students with a few exceptions -- students who have permission from the superintendent, or students who submit a doctor's note documenting a health issue. Also, some students may have an individual education plan that specifies use of a device.

Chendra Dupree, the principal of Central High School, says the students are giving her some positive feedback.

"'I can really pay attention this year.' 'I can really pay attention.' 'This is the first year I'm not really texting on my phone when the teacher is trying to talk,'" Dupree said.

 "It teaches you structure and it teaches you how to follow the rules, and following the rules is a part of life," Walker said.

Dupree says students still get to use their phones in between periods and outside the classroom.

"In class, you won't have your phone, but instructional time is only sometimes 30 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes, so for you to go that long without your phone, it's not bad," White said.

The policy will go through another Bibb board meeting for a second reading and potential changes. The next meeting happens Thursday, May 19.

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