Cell Phone Ban in Classrooms Restrict Cell Phone Use in Schools
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The use of cell phones by students in classrooms is on the rise, despite 77% of schools prohibiting cell phones at school for non-academic use. With students often disregarding these rules or schools not enforcing them strictly, there’s a growing call among lawmakers across the country to take legislative action to restrict cell phone use in schools.

Florida Leads the Way in School Cell Phone Bans

Florida was the first state to require all public schools to prohibit students from using their cell phones during school, and other states have since looked to join the Sunshine State.

Indiana Governor Enacts Cell Phone Ban in Classrooms

On March 11, Governor Eric Holcomb (R) signed legislation into law to restrict cell phone use in schools. Under the legislation, school corporations and charter schools must adopt a policy that prohibits students from using wireless communication devices during instructional time. The bill defines a ‘wireless communication device’ as a cell phone, tablet, laptop, or gaming device.

However, the legislation allows for exceptions, such as permitting teachers to let students to use a device for educational purposes, in the event of an emergency, or if a device is used to manage a student’s health care. 

Louisiana Advances Legislation on School Cell Phone Use

In early April 2024, the Louisiana Senate unanimously passed SB 207 related to cell phone use in schools. The bill would not allow students to possess their “electronic telecommunication device” on their person throughout the instructional day. If students bring their device(s) to school during an instructional day, they must turn them off or stow them away. The bill does allow for exceptions, such as if a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) requires the use of such a device. 

If passed, Louisiana’s cell phone ban in classrooms would go into effect for the 2024-2025 school year. 

Oklahoma Bill to Restrict Cell Phone Use in Schools Advances

In Oklahoma’s 2024 legislative session, legislation was introduced and passed a Senate committee regarding cell phone use in schools. The bill, which was still pending as of 5/15, would require every school district to adopt a policy to prohibit cell phone usage by students while on the campus of a public school district. If passed by lawmakers by the end of session (end of May 2024), the bill would apply for the 2024-2025 school year. 

Pennsylvania Legislation Introduced to Ban Mobile Devices During School

In February 2024, legislation was introduced in Pennsylvania to prohibit the use of mobile devices during school. The bill, which has not advanced as of 5/15, would ban students from possessing or using cell phones and tablets in public schools during school hours. 

Unlike some of the other states outlined here, the Pennsylvania bill would require students to leave their device in a school-provided lockbox or a case/pouch with a locking device when they arrive at school. Students would then be able to access their devices during lunch or at the end of the school day. The bill also provides exceptions, such as if students are members of a volunteer fire company, ambulance, or rescue squad, are English learners and using their device to translate, if they have a disability, or if they have a medical condition or have an immediate family member with a medical condition.

Virginia Bill to Restrict Cell Phone Usage in Classrooms Dies

In the 2024 legislative session, legislation was introduced to allow school boards to develop and implement policies to prohibit the usage of cell phones and other handheld devices during school hours. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bill Stanley (R), argued that the bill itself wasn’t a ban on cellphones, but rather an explicit empowering for local school districts to restrict cell phone usage during school hours if they choose to do so. 

The bill passed the Senate in January, 36-3, and was referred to the House where it eventually died after advancing through the House Education Committee, 19-1. 

From The Experts

Expert insights from the authors at Duane Morris Government Strategies.


Ryan Stevens

While technology can be a valuable educational tool, its misuse during instructional time is something that has caught the attention of lawmakers across the country and will be an interesting dynamic to keep an eye on.

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