Home News Ohio Officials Introduce Model Policy to Regulate Cell Phone Use in Schools

Ohio Officials Introduce Model Policy to Regulate Cell Phone Use in Schools


In a concerted effort to enhance classroom focus and curb the adverse effects of excessive cell phone use among students, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) Director Stephen D. Dackin have unveiled a model policy aimed at minimizing student reliance on cell phones during school hours.

Governor DeWine emphasized the potential academic and social benefits of restricting cell phone usage, stating, “By removing the distraction of cell phones from classrooms, our school children will be free to flourish and will see improved academic engagement and social interaction.”

The newly introduced model policy lays down clear guidelines prohibiting students from using cell phones or similar electronic devices on school premises during instructional hours. Students are required to store their cell phones in designated secure locations, such as lockers, closed backpacks, or storage devices provided by the district, when their use is prohibited.

Exceptions to the policy include cases where students require cell phones for documented purposes as part of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or for monitoring health concerns.

Lt. Governor Husted, who spearheaded discussions across the state on this issue, echoed the sentiment that reducing cell phone use in classrooms can lead to enhanced academic performance and a decrease in behavioral issues. He emphasized the importance of allowing students to focus on their lessons rather than being consumed by social media notifications.

DEW developed the model cell phone policy in response to the mandates of House Bill 250, recently signed into law by Governor DeWine. HB 250 requires every school district in Ohio to establish an official policy regulating cell phone usage, with an emphasis on minimizing their presence during school hours.

School districts have the option to adopt DEW’s model policy or formulate their own, provided it adheres to the requirements outlined in HB 250.

Accompanying the model policy, DEW has released a toolkit containing resources and strategies for school administrators, teachers, parents, and students. The toolkit offers guidance on fostering school engagement without cell phones and promoting healthy screen time habits among students.

Director Dackin urged school leaders to utilize these tools to garner community support and implement policies that enrich students’ learning experiences while at school.

Governor DeWine had previously advocated for legislation limiting cell phone use in schools during his State of the State Address, acknowledging Lt. Governor Husted’s efforts in supporting measures to regulate cell phone usage and parental consent requirements for social media use by children.

HB 250, sponsored by former Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) and Rep. Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville), and championed by Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware), received unanimous approval in both the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives.

All Ohio schools are mandated to adopt cell phone policies by July 2025, ahead of the 2025-2026 academic year.