Fulton County students will notice big change as they head back to school next week

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Students in Fulton County schools will notice a big change this year involving their cell phones when they head back to school Aug. 8.

Fulton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney told Channel 2′s Fred Blankenship that the district has been hiring, training and preparing all summer for the first of school.

Looney said to help students focus, there’s a big change this new school year.

“Students will no longer be allowed to use their cell phones in class without the teacher explicitly giving permission,” Looney said.

The goal is to cut down on distractions.

“When a teacher’s lecturing and we’re engaged in learning, that’s not the appropriate time to be playing a video game or looking at your social media posts,” Looney said.

While students are learning, the district wants them to feel safe.

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After the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, there is a renewed emphasis on campus security.

“School safety is at the forefront of our mind,” Looney told Blankenship.

Fulton County Schools has its own police force. They’ve also hired additional campus security associates and invested millions in security camera software.

“You walked in; I noticed the shoes,” Blankenship told Looney. “They’re not just colorful, they really do tell a story about what’s on your mind this year.”

“I’m wearing my green high tops in honor of the young lady that died in Uvalde — the fourth grader. She was wearing green high tops when she passed,” Looney said. “Every day when I put these high tops on, it reminds me that I’ve got to focus on school safety.”

While Looney and district officials focus on safety, students and teachers can focus on education.

This year, there’s a particular emphasis on reading.

“What do you think is the energy level of our teachers and staff?” Blankenship asked Looney.

“I’m going to tell you we have some of the best in the country. They’re excited, they’re enthusiastic and they’re committed to this work,” Looney said.

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