Fairfax County schools plan to crack down on cell phone usage next school year

A new policy starting next school year might require students now lock up their cell phones in Fairfax County.

Fairfax County Public Schools already has a phone away policy with exceptions. However, school board members say it’s not consistently enforced across the board. One school board member described students as on their phones all day.  

Trying to address this, last week the school board passed that now requires FCPS Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid to develop a system-wide cell phone usage plan that could include students having to lock their phones up in a pouch or cell phone locker.

"The problem I have is every educator I talk to feels like enforcing it makes them the bad guy .. and um, I don’t want anybody to be put in that position so we do need to come up with a method for fidelity execution of this policy," School Board Chair Karl Frisch said.

"My kids have that already in private school. No cell phones in school. I think they’re a distraction. I think they make the kids unhappy and over-stressed. So I think anything the schools can do to eliminate that type of distraction at their age is perfect," said Joe Terpenning, agreeing with a crackdown on cell phones.

"That’s a had one just ‘cause if anything were to happen you kind of want to be able to contact your kids no matter what. But at the same time I know how distracting it could be … so maybe, I don’t know, limit the access on it. Have them put it on airplane mode," said another parent who went by M.K. in an interview with FOX 5 Monday.

Others disagreed, wanting children to have access to their phones in school. Some of those parents told FOX 5 it should be on the parent to ensure students are following classroom policy when it comes to cell phones.

This is only supposed to be a pilot for the 2024-2025 school year. Dr. Reid is expected to announce her plan over the summer.

FOX 5 is told some teachers are already requiring their students to put cell phones away in a designated area as soon as they enter class.

More information can be found here.