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Which States Ban or Restrict Cellphones in Schools?

The iPhone debuted 17 years ago on June 29, 2007, launching the modern smartphone era that virtually every current K-12 student has been born into.

But students’ access to their devices during the school day stands to be dramatically curtailed. A growing wave of education leaders and policymakers are adopting new cellphone policies, with the debate swinging decidedly in favor of tighter restrictions. Limiting access, they argue, will benefit students’ mental health and learning.

Governors from both parties have called for bans, and in a few states, they’ve already signed legislation that requires schools to crack down on students’ phone use during the school day. Bills to limit students’ use of cellphones in schools are pending in a few additional states.

As of June 2024, 3 states have passed laws or enacted policies that ban or restrict students’ use of cellphones in schools statewide, according to an Education Week analysis.

There’s plenty of other action, too. Leaders in the two largest school districts—Los Angeles and New York—are pushing forward with policies to keep phones from students during classtime in the school year ahead, with other small and mid-size districts doing something similar. Earlier this year, the Alabama State Board of Education passed a resolution strongly encouraging districts to limit cellphone use in schools.

Follow this tracker to see what’s happening at the state level.

Dive deep into the debate on cellphones in K-12 schools—bans, restrictions, classroom learning tools, and more.

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