The debate about cell phones in the classroom has been controversial, with mixed opinions about whether or not it would be beneficial to students and their families.

It’s a newer problem for society, since many parents nowadays didn’t have the concern or even the opportunity to have a cellular device in the classroom: it wasn’t even a thought. When you’re at school, you are at school. 

Now, with parental concerns of being able to reach their kid, parents or other relatives reaching out to a student during the school day, and social media notifications begging to be answered, the idea has been opened to debate. 

And they just voted to make a big change in Los Angeles. 

According to AXIOS, the Los Angeles Unified School District voted 5 to 2 on Tuesday “to ban cellphone and social media use for its more than 429,000 students during the school day.”  

The school district is the second largest in the nation, and seeing the results from their vote is causing other schools across the country to wonder, “Who’s next?”

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It’s no secret that California and New York are very similar when it comes to their statewide policies, and that’s why many residents in New York state are wondering if a cellphone ban is likely coming here next. 

The Los Angeles Unified School District passed the ban on social media use during school just one day after the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called for legislation to force social media platforms to “display warning labels about the potential harm they may pose to teens’ mental health.”  

While the passed ban isn’t clearly defined, the district agreed to establish a written plan over the next four months so they are ready to implement it in the spring semester of next school year. 

Educators who are supporting the device ban are hopeful that the classroom distractions will become more limited and the students’ mental health will be protected, according to USA Today.  

Across the country, the Pew Research Center found that approximately 72% of classrooms are faced with additional challenges as a direct result of cellphone use.  

Could this mean that New York schools may see a similar ban? It seems likely, but it will take some time to pass a vote like that in local school districts.  

In May 2024, New York Governor Kathy Hochul stated her plans to pursue a statewide prohibition of cellphones on campus in 2025. However, New York City currently leaves it up to individual campuses to determine their own policies, so it will be interesting to see what happens over the next 12 months.

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