DC principal offering students $100 to stay off phones this summer

WASHINGTON — A local principal is offering students $100 each out of her own pocket to stay off their electronic devices just one day a week for the duration of summer break.

Diana Smith, principal of Washington Latin Public Charter School, said rising 8th and 9th graders can earn the prize by foregoing electronics until school starts in late August.

“I challenge them to stay off of any screens — so television, games, phones, tables, everything — for the 11 Tuesdays that we have of summer break,” Smith told WTOP.

She said students must get 2 signed letters from grown up witnesses to be eligible.

Smith was concerned with the amount of screen time consuming students, and subsequent loss of sleep students might suffer.

“Kids have these phones under their pillows at night — they’re going to bed, they’re texting each other at 3, 4 in the morning,” she said.

Under her challenge, Smith said “they can’t watch television, they can’t play video games they cant do any of that.”

Among those returning to Washington Latin Public Charter School, about 160 students are eligible to take on the challenge.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

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