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The Metropolitan School District of Martinsville has a new policy on cell phones that parents are not loving.

Students are not allowed to have their phones during the entire school day. They are required to leave their phones in their lockers until school is over.

“My success teacher saw it in my pocket, and I got in trouble,” said Wiatt Byington, an 8th grader at John R. Wooden Middle School.

The board approved this new policy in July. Wiatt’s mother Tabitha Maxwell didn’t know about it until class started August 14.

“After the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where the students were able to update their parents, call 911, update authorities on where the shooter was, and check in with their peers, I don’t understand why you would take that away from a child,” said Maxwell.

Bell Intermediate Academy started a similar policy in 2015. Martinsville High School has a slightly different policy that requires students to put their phones in a specific area during class.

“Keeping students engaged and learning throughout the school day is just part of the push to keep cell phones out of the classroom. Bullying through social media, inappropriate recording of other students, and video-chatting has negatively impacted schools due to the past availability of cell phones,” said Eric Bowlen, superintendent of the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville, in a statement to News 8.

“I don’t disagree. It is a distraction, but I don’t see how having it physically on them in a classroom causes that distraction. Just have a firm set of rules about having it out, and follow those rules,” said Maxwell.

Maxwell circulated an online petition protesting the policy. She believes having a phone nearby could save a child’s life in case of a school shooting.

“I don’t want to think about losing my child. I don’t want to think about anyone losing their child, but that’s the world we live in now. If the only thing I get is the ability to say I love you and goodbye, I want it,” said Maxwell.

Both sides of the argument are understandable. For safety purposes parents want to stay in contact with their children. We live in a world where bad things happen, and parents want to be in the loop and know their child is okay when those things happen.

On the other hand, teachers want to be able to teach in a distraction free environment. Phones are distracting, and they are easy to cheat with. Teachers’ jobs are already hard enough. Cell phones only make it more difficult.

To hear Tony Katz’s thoughts on the policy, click the link below.