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Broward School Board Considering Cell Phone Ban For Parents

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maggieheadshot Maggie Newland
Maggie Newland is a reporter at CBS4. She arrived at the station ...
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BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Many parents pass time in the sometimes forever-long school pick-up line by catching up with friends on the phone, or perhaps even finishing-up business over Bluetooth. But, in an effort to put the brakes on dangerous driving, the Broward school district is proposing a ban on all cell phone use on school property while driving.

“We’ve had near incidents where some toes have been run over because they’re not paying attention,” explained Jerry Graziose,  Safety Director for the Broward County School District. “We’ve had some incidents where our staff have banged on cars to get drivers’ attention because their child hasn’t gotten completely out of the backseat. Some have gotten their book bags or jackets caught and the driver thought the door was closed and started taking off.”

The School Board is considering a policy that would ban drivers on school grounds from using their cellphones, including headsets or Bluetooth, and all other electronic devices.  Some Broward campuses have already gone the route of posting the signs which prohibit cellphone use in drop-off and pick-up areas but school officials said it’s not easy to enforce without an official rule.

The proposed policy would apply to anyone driving on school property.  The ban would not apply  to emergency 911 calls or  vehicles that are stopped.  Parents waiting in a long pick-up line, could use a phone until the line of cars starts moving,  then it would be off limits, even for people using a blue-tooth or earpiece.

“I think that’s going a little too far because once you have your earpiece on you can talk and still pay attention,” said Reginald Crawford who has a daughter at Miramar Elementary.  Still he says overall it’s a good idea to keep drivers off the phone because pick-up time can get chaotic. “You’ve got to focus,” he said.

Shantel Rios, who picks up her niece from school echoed that: “There’s kids that run out sometimes and people walk with their kids so I don’t want to take any chances with that. ”  Still, she said she’s not sure about banning phones completely for drivers.  “You kind of need your cell phone everywhere so I don’t know how that’ll work,” she said.

A public hearing will be scheduled on the matter as the policy still needs School Board approval.  Graziose says he hopes a policy will be in place by the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

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