In a letter sent to schools statewide and obtained by The Daily Wire, Governor Sarah Sanders (R-AR) revealed a proposal on Tuesday for the state that would urge schools to phone-free classrooms.

Sanders said the program will target one of the biggest causes and symptoms of youth mental illness: screen addiction and social media.

The grant will fund the cell phone ban by delivering secure pouches to schools for students to house their phones while school is in session. Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Secretary of Education Jacob Oliva sent a letter to school superintendents inviting them all to take part in the pilot program, which involves schools utilized by education service cooperatives for specialized programs after hours are not among those that can participate in these districts.

“We have made this a priority in our Administration, and we are committing state resources to help with this crisis,” Sanders and Olive said. “To that end, we are excited to announce a pilot program focused on two key priorities: restricting in-school phone use and mental healthcare. We invite your district to join this statewide effort.” 

Sanders then reminded the public of skyrocketing rates of youth depression, anxiety, and isolation across America, telling the national audience that teenagers in this country now spend nearly five hours per day on social media.

At the same time, more teenagers are committing suicide since smartphones became ubiquitous. The country has also seen a decline in the scores of teenagers when it comes to math, reading, and science.

“Big Tech created an addicting product and marketed it to the most impressionable population out there, our kids,” the Governor commented.

Sanders has made education one of her priorities during her administration, even going so far as to say she wanted history to judge that she was the “Education Governor.” Her biggest legislative accomplishment was passing a universal school choice bill in Arkansas, which also banned obscene sexual materials and critical race theory from classrooms.

The public schools that are taking part in the program will get extra money, including help for telehealth mental health services. It will also help them navigate mental and behavioral health care, substance abuse treatment, general social services for students and families as well as adults working in schools – including how to get insurance.

The governor’s office said Sanders and the state education secretary met with several Arkansas superintendents last month to get their recommendations on his proposal, which have been included in the program. Starting next school year, the grant program will be available to schools.