SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 152
September 13, 1996
||Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
||Transmittal of a recent Opinion of the Virginia Attorney
General Addressing 18.2-322.1 of the Code of Virginia
and Cellular Telephones
Attached please find a copy of the recent formal opinion from James S. Gilmore, III, Attorney General, to the Honorable William C. Mims, member, House of Delegates, addressing whether a cellular telephone is a similar portable communication device within the prohibition of 18.2-322.1 (A). Background: Virginia's criminal code makes it unlawful for any person in possession or control of a beeper or similar portable communications device to be upon the grounds of any public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school. There is an exclusion to the prohibition for school official, security officer, teacher, support employee, rescue squad...[See: 18.2-322.1(D)]. Issue: Whether a cellular phone is a "similar portable communications device" and thus within the prohibition of 18.2-322.1 (A). Decision: While a cellular phone is a portable communications device, it is not similar to a beeper. Consequently, the Attorney General concludes that a cellular telephone is not a similar portable communication device within the prohibition of this statute. Questions about this opinion should be addressed to your local school board attorney. RTL/dta Attachment: This memo and its attachment will be sent to the superintendent's office.