Hillsborough School Board member Jessica Vaughn on electronic devices in schools and other education issues

School classroom by diane39 via iStock for WMNF News.

Hillsborough County Public Schools could have a new policy on mobile phones and other electronic devices before the beginning of the new school year on August 12.

The Pew Research Center found that 72% of high school teachers in the U.S. say that mobile phone distraction is a major problem in the classroom.

Electronic devices in schools

In July, the Hillsborough School Board is expected to discuss and vote on a new policy that will also consider the use of smartwatches, earbuds and other devices during the school day.

On Tuesday Café (25 August 2024) we spoke about this and other education issues with Hillsborough School Board member Jessica Vaughn.

“The most recent version of the policy — if people want to take a look at it before we vote on it in July — we have all our agendas online and it was included in the last agenda. So people can actually go on Board Docs from our website and look it up.

“But essentially it says that every time that a student’s in school that the device whatever device they have, that means smartwatches cell phones, if there’s any other kind of electronic device needs to be put on silent and put away in their backpacks throughout the day.

“Now, there are exceptions for that if a teacher gives you authorization to use it for instructional time or the assignment or I know that there are some schools where you can earn mobile device time as kind of part of their positive behavior reinforcement plan.

“So you can use it in those situations or if there’s a medical emergency, if you know it monitors your blood sugar and alert your family or something like that, or if it’s even built into your IEP or 504 then you can make an allowance for the electronic device.”

– Jessica Vaughn on WMNF’s Tuesday Café

Ballot question on property tax increase for teacher pay

On the November 2024 ballot, Hillsborough County voters will decide whether to create a new tax on real estate to fund education. Vaughn says the revenue is projected to be about $160-180 million per year and most of it would go toward supplementing the pay of teachers and other school staff.

Other education topics

We also discussed book bans in Florida, declining public school enrollment, school closures, artificial intelligence, armed guardians in schools, the power of Moms For Liberty on Florida school boards, vouchers, school speed zones and vaping in schools.

Myosha Powell

Vaughn is running for re-election. Some candidates dropped out right before the qualifying deadline and Vaughn’s only opponent is Myosha Powell. Every Hillsborough voter can vote on non-partisan school board races in the August 20 primary election.

Watch the interview here:

Next week on Tuesday Café

On July 2, we’ll speak with former State Rep. Jennifer Webb. She’s now with the Carter Center and is part of their initiative called the Sunshine State Unity Network. It aims to reduce violence, bolster the republic and restore faith in democratic institutions in Florida.

WMNF’s Tuesday Café

Tuesday Café airs live weekly on WMNF beginning at 10:06 a.m. ET.

You can listen live on 88.5 FM in Tampa Bay, on wmnf.org or on the WMNF Community Radio app.

You can watch replays on TBAE Network channels at 8:00 a.m and 2:00 p.m Tuesdays on Spectrum 636, Frontier 34 and watch.tbae.net. Or on demand.

You can listen anytime on demand on wmnf.org or by subscribing to the Tuesday Café podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

https://open.spotify.com/show/311qfxLFcO8F7ZvnjgZogD – WMNF’s Tuesday Café with Seán Kinane.

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