Los Angeles School District Votes to Ban Cellphones During School Hours: ‘Kids No Longer Have the Opportunity to Be Kids’

The board said it approved the ban after citing studies that showed smartphones and social media were "distracting kids from learning"



Hundreds of thousands of students in the Los Angeles area may no longer be able to use phones during school hours.

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education — which is the second largest school district in the nation behind New York City — voted on Tuesday, June 18 to approve a ban on cellphone use during class, according to a press release from the school district.

“Kids no longer have the opportunity to just be kids,” Board Member Nick Melvoin, who introduced the ban, said per the release. “I’m hoping this resolution will help students not only focus in class, but also give them a chance to interact and engage more with each other — and just be kids.”

The board voted five to two in favor of passing the ban, according to ABC News and CNN.

Per the release, the board said it approved the ban after citing studies that showed "smartphones and social media are distracting kids from learning, eroding their mental health and stifling in-person social connection." The intention of the ban was made "with the goal of supporting students’ academic success and wellbeing."

Related: How Smartphones Are Hurting Our Kids’ Mental Health: ‘There’s Massive Evidence of Harm‘ (Exclusive)

The ban will prohibit students from using cellphones throughout the school day, including during lunch and break time, according to CNN. The school district said, per ABC News, that it would possibly implement the use of locked pouches, cell phone lockers or other options in order to keep the phones out of students’ hands during the school day.

“There will be differences between schools,” LAUSD School Board President Jackie Goldberg told CNN. “But the idea is very simple: If you bring your phone to school at all, you park it at the beginning... and you’ll pick it up on your way home.”

However, there are still some details that need to be ironed out, including phone usage in the case of emergencies, including during school shootings, and phone usage for students who use their devices for translation, according to the outlet.

Related: Las Vegas Schools Implement Cell Phone Pouches to Keep Students Off Their Phones

“It is important for the Board of Education to balance many interests — including fostering distraction-free learning environments, minimizing inequitable implementation of school policies, and retaining some flexibility and resources for our schools to address their local interests and issues,” said Board Member Dr. Rocío Rivas in the release.

The district said it will work to create a “comprehensive implementation policy” that will take suggestions from “experts in the field, labor partners, staff, students and parents,” per CNN and ABC News.

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According to both outlets, the district will work to put forward a proposal by the fall 2024 semester, which will be presented during a future board meeting, with the plan to implement the ban beginning in January 2025.

The Clark County School District in Nevada also announced earlier this year that starting in the 2024-2025 school year, students in grades 6 to 12 will have to use signal-blocking pouches to store their phones during classroom instruction.

Per ABC News, the Manchester Public School District in Connecticut also launched a program requiring students to lock cell phones in secure pouches during the school day and the Houston Independent School District also implemented a school-wide cellphone ban, which some students protested in February 2024.

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