ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) is enacting a new policy that's sure to get students tweeting, just not during school hours.

ACPS middle school principals announced in a release to families Wednesday, August 14, that it will no longer permit students to carry their personal cellphones with them during the school day.

Students were previously allowed to have phones and other tech on school property, but the devices had to be turned off and kept out of sight in the classroom.

The policy change is due to several reasons: complaints from teachers, research suggesting cellphones affect student's concentration, and a national poll that says nearly 80% of parents don't want their kids using their phones during school.

Students will still be able to call home at any time, just from phone lines in school offices.

The cellphone policy will take effect on Albemarle County's first day of school, August 21.


Dear Parents and Guardians:

As parents ourselves, we share the concern of many about the growing influence of technology on the lives of our children. As educators, we know technology is a significant classroom resource, but in unsupervised applications, it can be a harmful distraction.

Teachers, for instance, have told us that personal cell phone use by students during the school day has been distracting. Research documents how this interferes with the ability of students to concentrate on their learning and to develop healthy relationships with one another.

We want schools to always be healthy, welcoming and supportive for all students. That’s why, after considerable reflection, we have decided that effective Wednesday, August 21 (the first day of school), our students no longer will be permitted to carry personal cell phones with them during any part of the school day.

In addition to this measure, we will continue our work with students on research-based Developmental Design practices to promote open conversations among students and vital social and emotional learning skills, such as cooperation, communication, assertion, responsibility, empathy, engagement, and self-control.

To ensure that students who need to talk with a parent always are able to do so, we will add phone lines in our school offices as needed. We also will continue to relay messages from parents to their children at any time. Students still will be able to use their computers to stay in email communication with you.

Middle schools across our country have adopted this Away for the Day approach. A national poll found that more than eight out of ten parents do not want their children using cell phones during the school day. A recent survey of Henley Middle School parents found even stronger support.

We ask you to join us in continuing to enhance the learning experience and the social and emotional well-being of all students. Please emphasize to your child that if it is necessary to bring a personal cell phone to school, the phone should be stored in your child’s locker during the school day.

Thank you