Last-minute changes made to OCPS cellphone policy ahead of new school year

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A new cellphone policy will be in place when students return to the classroom at Orange County Public Schools.


The school board made changes to when and where students can use their devices on campus.

For the most part, cellphones will need to be silenced and kept tucked away in a backpack or a purse. However, there will be exceptions for some students with disabilities and medical needs, and if a teacher allows phones for educational purposes.

The district’s cellphone policy has been up for discussion for months. The hope is to cut down on fighting and bullying happening in the schools by cracking down on when students can use their phones.

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“We do have a discipline program,” board member Angie Gallo said. “We do know that the research shows cellphones is in large part due to those disciplines.”

But not everyone is on board with the change.

“While teachers are saying this could reduce fighting (and) cyberbullying, many teachers have expressed concern this will create extra work,” said Clinton McCracken, president of Orange County Teacher’s Association.

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Superintendent Dr. Maria Vasquez said even with the policy approved, the school district will follow through to see if what’s put in place is working.

Students are permitted to have a cellphone on school property, at after-school activities and on school buses.

The school board will reconvene at a later date to discuss the rules for smartwatches.

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Adam Poulisse,

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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