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CMS to crack down on classroom cellphone use

In the final weeks before school begins, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is putting the word out to parents and students: Cellphone use will not be tolerated during class time.

Assistant Superintendent David Legrand, who was a high school principal until about a year ago, says the rule has always been on the books. But after students returned from remote learning, they tended to use their phones throughout the day. This year, he says, students can still bring their phones, but can only use them during lunch breaks and class changes.

“During instructional time we’re asking all schools, all teachers, all students to turn off their cellphones and store them. Put them away,” Legrand said. “We’re just trying to eliminate the distraction for students during that instructional time.”

The cellphone crackdown is one way district officials are trying to boost academic achievement.

“Students will pull it out, they’ll have it to their side, they will put their books up and have their phone sort of hid behind their book,” Legrand said.

Students who can’t resist a peek at their phone will likely get warnings at first but could have their phones confiscated and returned only to an adult family member.

Most CMS students start class on Aug. 28, although some who attend high schools on college campuses are coming back this week.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.