Welcome back to school Clay County students, now put your cell phone away.
Clay County District Schools classrooms, restrooms and locker rooms are now “device free zones” due to updated Florida law.
The new legislation was approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 9 and prohibits the use of “certain platforms on district-owned devices and through Internet access provided by the school district; authorizes teachers and other instructional personnel to designate an area for wireless communications during instructional time and requires public schools to provide instruction on the social, emotional, and physical effects of social media.”
Click here to see the law in full.
Clay County students’ electronic devices must be silenced and out of sight during instructional time, according to an Oakleaf High School Facebook post. Clay County students return to school Aug. 10.
Students who violate this new rule could face up to three days of out of school suspension, according to the post. Below is the breakdown of violations and subsequent consequences.
- First violation: warning (teacher calls home)
- Second violation: after school detention
- Third violation: two days of after school detention
- Fourth violation: two days of in-school-suspension
- Fifth violation: five days of in-school-suspension
- Sixth violation: one to three days of out-of-school-suspension
The law also bans several social media platforms including TikTok, Snapchat and Twitter from public school devices, including student laptops unless otherwise specified by teachers for instructional material.
It explicitly bans the use of TikTok “or any successor application or service” on school devices or as a platform to communicate or promote school-sponsored events, clubs or sports teams.
A 2018 research study showed that 95% of teenagers in the United States own a mobile device and 70% check social media several times a day, according to Common Sense Media. Additionally, the study revealed that three out of four teens believe tech companies “intentionally manipulate them.”
“Being normal kids, like kids were prior to social media, is important,” DeSantis said after signing the law, which went into effect July 1. “Social media (causes) more problems than it solves, and I think it causes more harm than good. So, let’s have our education system be as much about traditional education as we can”
In the case of an emergency, students will be granted access to their cell phones, Clay County District Schools' Communications Director Terri Dennis said.