EDWARDSVILLE - During their regular meeting on Monday, June 24, 2024, the Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 Board of Education voted to approve a proposal about student wireless devices to the Illinois Association of School Boards Resolution Committee for consideration.

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The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) will meet in November. The Resolution Committee reviews proposals from school boards to then present them to IASB. The IASB may then take these proposals to Illinois legislators.

The District 7 school board has been discussing proposals for several months now. They ultimately decided to submit a proposal detailing cell phone use in schools.

District 7 will submit the following proposal to the IASB Resolution Committee: “The Illinois Association of School Boards shall request the Illinois legislature to consider legislation that empowers school boards to adopt policy regarding the use of student-owned wireless communication devices. Specifically, school districts will be required to create policy that states the students may not use wireless communication devices during instructional time, except in certain cases, for example, monitoring a health condition or if it’s included in an individualized educational plan.

“A teacher or school administrator may designate a location for wireless devices, and such devices must be silenced and put away as directed. Legislation will allow schools to prohibit use of wireless communication devices during lunchtime and transitioning between classes.

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“In addition, the IASB shall request that the Illinois legislature consider legislation that requires every school district to adopt a policy that prohibits and prevents student access to social media on Internet access provided by the school district and district-owned devices, except when expressly directed by a teacher for educational purposes.”

The idea to submit a proposal was first raised by Board member Terri Dalla Riva. Dalla Riva, Lynne Sanderson, Bob Paty, Kristen Pfund and Jill Bertels all voted to approve the proposal. Jennifer Brumback and Scott Ahart were absent.

“So basically, we’re asking them to put their phones away,” Bertels summarized.

Dalla Riva responded yes. She added that District 7 already has a cell phone policy, but she hopes this proposal will make it easier to implement and enforce.

“As Dr. Shelton said, we already have policy in place, but this is something that is, to me, a collective action problem. It’s something that, if we have everyone on board, it certainly makes it easier to implement over time,” Dalla Riva said. “We know that overuse of smartphones leads to poor academic performance, negatively affects a child’s emotional stability, and the laws reduce distractions in the classroom and cut down on bullying through social media and encourage social interaction.”

She said she has read several articles about school districts around the country that have adopted similar policies.

The proposal will now go forward to the IASB Resolution Committee.

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