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LA School District Board Bans Use of Smartphones in School

The Los Angeles Unified School District has approved a plan to ban students from using smartphones during the school day. The board noted that students are constantly checking their phones as they go about school activities.  


“They’re surreptitiously scrolling in school, in class time. They have their head in their hands walking in hallways. They’re not talking to each other or playing at lunch or recess because they have their airpods in. Growing body of research now that smartphones have been more ubiquitous…is coming out, it’s crystallizing these…effects, the harmful effects on students’ academic achievement, on their mental health, on their physical health,” Nick Melvon a LAUSD board member said.

A student checking their phone. Credit: Stocksy

A number of parents, teachers and board members applauded the move. Some raised concerns that staff would have to spend so much time fighting with students over phones.

The new policy will be formed over the next 120 days with the input of stakeholders including parents, students, staff and experts. The board says implementation will vary from school to school. In some schools students will have to put the smartphones in their lockers. In other schools they may have to put the smartphones in sealed bags, depending on what is agreed upon.

Those in favour of the policy say it will lead to less bullying, more communication with each other at school and better learning. The policy will go into effect in January. There is already a policy that says no cellphones during class. This policy however, says no cellphones during the entire school day. Smartwatches are expected to be part of the ban.

In comparison, public and private Kenyan high schools do not allow the use of smartphones at school, especially not in boarding schools. Mobile phones found within the students’ possession are often confiscated or given to them at the end of the school term.

In South Africa, a look at the policy of Queenspark school revealed that they allow mobile phones at school. The rule states that tablets and mobile phones should be used strictly for education purposes and should be on silent or turned off. The school also reserves the right to search a pupil’s mobile devices if there is a reasonable cause.

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