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Maple Grove couple calls on parents to get involved in teen cell phone use

After learning the teen shooter in Uvalde showed warning signs, a local couple now urges families to check out a resource they created called Cell Phone Permit.

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — Since the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, last week, details have emerged over the disturbing warning signs the shooter posted on social media. Now, a Maple Grove couple is urging families nationwide to check out a resource they created called Cell Phone Permit.

According to documents reviewed by the LA Times, in the weeks before the deadly attack, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos stopped showing up at his high school. He also reportedly lost his job and posted "troubling images" on social media.

In Maple Grove, Joanne and Jonathan Brozozog are on a mission to help parents not just detect warning signs but intervene.

"It's devastating," Joanne said of the mass shooting. "I mean we have two kids that age."

"We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines and let tragedies like this continue to happen," her husband Jonathan added. "We've got to get involved as parents."

In 2020, the Brozozogs created Cell Phone Permit: a course teaching teens responsible cell phone use.

"To just give a student a phone without any education is really a challenge," Jonathan said. "Just like a driver's permit, your parent - they're in charge while they're in the car with you - and same with Cell Phone Permit. We want all of the students to give their parents the passwords."

Ideally, your teen takes the course before receiving a cell phone, the Brozozogs say, and you go through the course material with them.

"Our oldest — he has a cell phone now because he went through the course — and I started noticing a little bit of withdrawal from him," Joanne said. "I just grabbed his phone one day and I started reading it and there were some things on there that he shouldn't have been doing — that he knows he's not supposed to do. So, guess what? We had to go back. But that saved him from going down a path that I don't know where he would have been a month, two months, three months from now."

Cell Phone Permit costs about $150 per student and is available for individuals and school districts both in-person and online. Companies are encouraged to sponsor students.

“We’re having schools even say, ‘You need to take this course [in order to] bring your phone on campus,'" Jonathan said.

The Brozozogs say they reached out to Robb Elementary, offering Cell Phone Permit for free to those affected by the tragedy. 

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