Ohio Legislature Passes Bill To Limit Cell Phone Use In Schools

The Ohio Legislature has passed a bill to limit student cell phone use in schools.

Many school districts have already implemented policies to minimize cell phone use, such as Findlay City Schools

This bill would be for districts that don’t have policies in place.

The goal of the bill is to eliminate distractions and encourage more student engagement, not ban cell phones completely.

The bill would require the Ohio Department of Education to put out a model policy for schools if they don’t want to create one themselves.

If approved, the law will go into effect January 1st of 2025.

Below is the cell phone use policy for Findlay City Schools in the 2023-24 handbook.

The administration realizes that technological advancements have led to an increased number of students who have cell phones. In order to preserve academic integrity and the safety of the learning community, it will be necessary to place some limitations on the use of cell phones at school. 

In the classroom, cell phone usage is prohibited unless permitted by the teacher for specific educational use. Use of cell phones in the hallway/cafeteria/non-academic areas are at the discretion of the building principal. Cell phones must be used in accordance with the Student Acceptable Use and Internet Safety Policy (EDE and EDE-R). 

Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action being taken, as well as the cell phone being confiscated. When a cell phone is confiscated, the student and/or parent may retrieve the phone from the appropriate principal at the end of the day, provided there are no concerns with the contents of the phone.

Bringing a cell phone to school on a scheduled school day is a privilege, not a right; a student does not have a legitimate expectation of privacy as to the contents of a cell phone the student chooses to bring to school. However, a cell phone will only be searched in accordance with established search policies. The school and school personnel are not responsible for lost or stolen cell phones. Cell phones may be taken by a teacher and brought to the office due to a student not following classroom expectations.