An Ohio School District Implemented a “Cell Phone Ban” This School Year—Here’s What Happened

In a bold and increasingly popular move, several Ohio school districts have implemented a comprehensive cell phone ban during the school day, limiting students’ access to devices and social media while at school. This initiative is part of a broader national trend aimed at reducing distractions in classrooms and improving the educational environment for students. 

The Cell Phone Ban in Action

The cell phone ban, which prohibits students from using their phones between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., has been met with mixed reactions but has shown promising results. Under House Bill 485, the Ohio state legislature pushed to block phones and social media from all K-12 classrooms for the 2023-2024 school year. The policy was introduced to combat the constant interruptions caused by phone notifications, which were significantly disrupting the learning process. 

Essence Wright, a Spanish teacher at Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio noted, “Constant notifications. Constant notifications. It interrupts the whole process. It really does.” By removing these distractions, teachers can maintain a more focused and productive classroom environment.

Student Cooperation 

As for enforcing the ban, the Akron school district requires students to keep their phones in specialized pouches that lock, created by the company Yondr. 

“You put your cell phone inside the pouch,” said Don Zesiger, director of security at Akron Public Schools. “You press this locking mechanism and it’s locked and the student keeps it with them throughout the day. Then at the end of the day, they approach an administrator who has this magnet. You touch the magnet your phone comes out and you’re on your way.”

At Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio, the collection-method for cell phones is more straightforward and low-tech. 

“The mornings are just like TSA,” says Dunbar High School Language Arts teacher and football coach, James Lacking. 

Lacking serves as part of the morning check-in team at the high school, which utilizes an envelope filing system for each student based on their name and grade. 

This simple yet effective method ensures that phones are not accessible during school hours, reducing the temptation for students to check their devices.

Positive Outcomes and Student Adaptation

Despite initial resistance, many students have come to appreciate the benefits of the cell phone ban. Seniors at Dunbar High School reported that, prior to the ban, lunchtime was eerily silent as students were absorbed in their screens. Without phones, students now engage in conversations and play games, fostering a more social and interactive atmosphere. One student remarked, “When we were allowed to have our phones, at lunch it used to be silent and like nobody would talk.”

Students now spend their lunch breaks talking, laughing, and playing games, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.

Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook.

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