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Indiana bill restricting student cell phone use in school passes in the Senate

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Senate unanimously approved a bill that would require school districts to create policies restricting when students can use cell phones during school hours, sending the bill to the House.

Senate Bill 185 mandates that schools implement a “wireless communication device policy” that prohibits students from using a cell phone during class instruction, unless it is for educational purposes, or the student is using it for an emergency or to manage the student’s health care. Schools must also publish the policy on their website.

The Monroe County Community School Corporation already has an adopted cell phone policy at both Bloomington High School North and Bloomington High School South. The policy is made public in the student handbook on both school websites.

The handbooks restrict student cell phone use to before and after school, during passing periods, at lunch, or when it is approved by a teacher for educational use. If not approved, the handbook states that students must have the phone turned off and out of sight.

Senate Bill 185 would make having a cell phone policy a minimum, meaning schools may choose to create tougher policies if they wish. In Fort Wayne, the Fort Wayne Community School Board approved of purchasing “cell phone pouches” to create “phone-free spaces” in classrooms.