Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Sen. Seifried aims to create pilot program to limit student phone usage in schools

Sen. Seifried files legislation to create pilot program to limit student phone usage in schools

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Ally Seifried, R-Claremore, has filed legislation creating a pilot program to allow Oklahoma public schools to create phone-free school sites. Senate Bill 1321 would provide grant-style funding for up to nine middle or high schools to cover the costs associated for sites going cellphone free for the duration of the school day.

Seifried said the goal of the program was to remove distractions for students in order to increase educational outcomes, in addition to, limiting the damaging effects of cellphone use on students’ mental health and wellbeing.

“This bill is the result of many conversations with teachers, administrators and parents, who want their kids and students to be more engaged in the classroom,” Seifried said. “By limiting the distraction of cellphones at school, it will allow students to truly focus on their learning. One Rutgers study, showed that removing cellphones from the classroom increased students’ test scores by almost 7% and doubled that rate for low-achieving students.”

Seifried said the benefit of this pilot will be to demonstrate how outcomes can change when students aren’t thinking about who is messaging them, liking their social media posts or any other related distraction.

“Schools who have implemented these policies have seen discipline instances reduced, with bullying and anxiety decreased as well,” she added. “The beauty of this pilot program is it is voluntary and allows schools the flexibility to adopt the policies as they see fit based on their unique sites. We all inherently know that cell phones affect students’ achievement, learning, retention, and their mental health. I’m confident that, if this bill passes, at the conclusion of the three-year program period, the data will be overwhelmingly positive for the Oklahoma students who participated.”

Click here to read Senate Bill 1321.


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