By Bob Allen

MCKEES ROCKS (KDKA) — The Sto-Rox School District says too many high school students are using their cell phones for the wrong reasons.

Starting today, the district banned all student cell phone usage on school property, claiming it disrupts the learning process.

“They’ve become too much of a distraction leading to a lot of lost educational and instructional time because teachers and the administration are dealing with cell phone issues,” said Sto-Rox Superintendent Frank Dalmas.

Superintendent Frank Dalmas has lots of reasons for enacting the ban. He says some students cheat by taking pictures of tests and then sending the pictures of the tests to other students.

Others have been taking pictures of staff and posting them to social media with derogatory comments.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was when we had a student go into the restroom and take a picture of another student in the restroom,” he said.

Statistics back up the superintendent’s arguments against cell phone usage in school.

According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of teenagers have access to or have a smartphone and 45% say they are online on a nearly constant basis.

A former student thinks this could be a safety issue.

“We have school shootings, we need to consider that could be our students and they need to be able to connect with their families,” said Lorenzo Rulli.

It’s not that cell phones are completely banned. Students can still carry their phones as long as their hidden in their bag and not using them during school hours, they will face no punishment.

“We’re not playing, this is serious, we’ve had too many instances where people’s rights were violated and their privacy was violated and we’re not going to allow that to continue,” said Superintendent Frank Dalmas.