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Could cell phones be banned in Massachusetts schools?

Massachusetts Board of Education looks at banning cell phones in schools
Massachusetts Board of Education looks at banning cell phones in schools 01:45

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Board of Education is now considering whether to ban or restrict the use of electronic devices, like cell phones, in school.

There are already schools in the state that are limiting when students can use phones at school and others that have banned phone use altogether.

A new Surgeon General's report outlines the "profound risk" of social media to kids and their mental health and Education Commissioner Jeff Riley wants the board to consider the issue on a statewide level. On Tuesday, he invited students and school leaders who abide by local restrictions to speak to the board.

"Teachers that enforce it more regularly - if they see a phone on a desk, you're sent down to the office - I've actually had really good experiences in those classes, and I've made closer connections. My time is better spent in those classes. And that's hard perspective for me to have because I want to be on my phone sometimes," said Tessa Scrimgeour, a Milford High School student.

"It's not just about the distraction in class and the students who take extended bathroom breaks in order to check their phones, but it's, as you've heard, about the students who are more likely to turn to their phone than they would to turn to talk to the person next to them. And about the time, the precious class time that's spent policing cell phone policy. And the impact on relationships between teachers and students when teachers are constantly having to police the cell phones," said Johanna Glazer, a teacher at Concord-Carlisle High School.

Riley said once the board makes a decision, if it involves new restrictions, schools would participate in a pilot program to test any new cell phone policy.

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