Advertisement

Los Angeles Unified School District votes to ban student cellphones

The Los Angeles Unified School District voted 5 to 2 on Tuesday on a resolution that would ban student access to smartphones and social media during school, breaks and lunch as early as January. Board members blamed cellphones for distracted learning, limited social interaction, bullying and anxiety. File Photo courtesy of Pixabay
The Los Angeles Unified School District voted 5 to 2 on Tuesday on a resolution that would ban student access to smartphones and social media during school, breaks and lunch as early as January. Board members blamed cellphones for distracted learning, limited social interaction, bullying and anxiety. File Photo courtesy of Pixabay

June 18 (UPI) -- The nation's second-largest school district voted Tuesday to move forward with a plan to ban cellphone use throughout the school day.

The Los Angeles Unified School District voted 5 to 2 on a resolution that would ban student access to smartphones and social media during school, breaks and lunch as early as January.

Advertisement

"Today, the L.A. Schools Board approved my resolution to protect mental health and learning with a phone-free school day. Students deserve a chance to engage in face-to-face play and learning and be protected from the more harmful effects of smartphones," school board member Nick Melvoin wrote Tuesday in a post on X.

"Our students are glued to their cellphones, not unlike adults," Melvoin added. "They're surreptitiously scrolling in school, in class time, and have their head in their hands, walking down the hallways. They're not talking to each other or playing at lunch or recess because they have their AirPods in."

The two board members who voted against the motion argued enforcing a cellphone ban would be too difficult. While each school will determine how it will enforce the ban, some schools have already implemented policies that include cellphone lockers or pouches.

Advertisement

"The schools that have already implemented a phone-free school day report incredible results," Melvoin said. "Kids are happier. They're talking to one another. Their academics are up."

"The research is clear: widespread use of smartphones and social media by kids and adolescents is harmful to their mental health, distracts from learning and stifles meaningful in-person interaction," Melvoin added.

While some parents support the cellphone ban to improve learning and reduce bullying and anxiety, other parents want their children to have access to their phones for safety in the event of a school shooting.

"Every public safety expert I've spoken to will say that it's safer in a school shooting or lockdown for kids not to be on their phones because a beep or vibration could notify the assailant of where kids are," Melvoin said. "Every kid calling their parents then every parent calling the switchboard can overwhelm 911."

Los Angeles Unified's vote Tuesday could increase the momentum for a number of campaigns in California that would restrict or ban cellphone use at schools.

California state lawmakers have introduced a bill, which has the support of Gov. Gavin Newsom, that would require school districts throughout the state to limit or ban cellphones at school as early as July 2026.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines