Here’s why Scottsdale schools will tell students to put cell phones “away for the day”

Phone are going "away for the day," says the district. Sarah Robinson explains the reason for the change.
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 8:40 AM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- As kids head back to school, the Scottsdale Unified School District is adopting a new policy when it comes to cell phones.

Scottsdale Unified says they are going old-school with their new policy. “Away For The Day” means students must put their phones away in their backpacks from entering the building until they exit after the last bell. The goal is to decrease cell phone addictions in kids, remove classroom distractions, and cut down on cyberbullying.

It’s district-wide for K-8 schools. Mountainside Middle School was the first to implement this policy two years ago after the pandemic when screen usage was at an all-time high. Mountainside principal Adam Luke says they’ve seen significant improvements in multiple areas.

“Now the cell phone is in the backpack. It is not in the pocket. It is not anywhere but in the backpack. So now the expectation is that before you come in, you put it away, and it stays away until you walk out and off our campus,” said Luke.

Luke also says it has been heartwarming to see students make new friends and socialize more, “the kids are having conversations. They are going out and playing, not having their faces buried into a blue screen, and just being normal middle schoolers.”

So what if there is an emergency? That has some parents concerned. Kids will still have their phones in their backpacks. Otherwise, If parents want or need to contact their child during the day, they must call the front office.

So far, the district says parents have been very supportive of the policy.

Another feature the district is rolling out this year: A Bus ID Program called “Stopfinder.” It allows the community and parents to know when students have scanned their ID cards on a bus reader getting on and off the bus.

While it does not electronically track students, it can be used to determine where a student could be if they did not get off at the correct stop. According to the district, they safely and quickly located three students in the first week of the school year. One student got off at the wrong bus stop, a second was stayed on after their stop, and a third missed the bus and was still at school.

See a spelling or grammatical error in our story? Please click here to report it.

Do you have a photo or video of a breaking news story? Send it to us here with a brief description.