ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- An Arkansas lawmaker filed a bill Wednesday (Dec. 8) that would ban students from using their smartphones and other devices at all public schools in the state.
Republican Representative Kim Hendren said it would be up to each school in the district to enforce the policy by collecting smartphones at the beginning of the day and returning them when school lets out.
Abby Boyd is a seventh grader in Fayetteville who said she doesn't think there's a need for a ban on smartphones coming from the state.
“My teachers make us have a bucket and we put our phones in the bucket. No one uses their phone in class so it's not a distraction to anybody,” Boyd said.
Hendren said leaving it up to each school district administration to come up with smartphone policies isn't working.
“Young boys are sending texts to young teenage girls saying, 'Send me a picture of you naked.' They are texting that, and I've seen teenage girls sit there are cry because that's happened to them,” Hendren said.
Hendren said smartphones are a distraction in the classroom that is often misused.
“Cell phones and these media are great tools if they are properly used as like anything else in life,” Hendren said. "So this is just a step in the direction I hope to make our education more effective."
Todd Smith, a father of a high school student, said that he can see Hendren's point.
“I know they can be a distraction, so from that standpoint I rather them not use them in school, but I know a lot of students do them for research in school so I guess you would have to monitor for that,” Smith said.
Fort Smith School District Superintendent Gordon Floyd said using digital devices comes with challenges, but it’s how this generation learns and he can see the benefits of that.
"Schools have to balance the problems that come when students bring electronic devices to school with the benefit they get by using those devices to learn,” Floyd said.
Abby can get behind that too.
“Students use their phones to do research for school and they also use their phones in case of an emergency, like they need to go home or they just can't go to the office immediately,” Boyd said.
Hendren said that if a student does have an emergency that requires contacting their parents, then that can be handled at the school's office.
The 2017 legislative session, during which the bill is likely to be considered, starts on Jan. 9.