Should cellphones be banned from the classroom?

Aug 16, 2023, 9:00 PM

A student uses their phone while walking between classes at Cyprus High School in Magna on Friday, ...

A student uses their phone while walking between classes at Cyprus High School in Magna on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. In a recent report, the United Nations called for a ban on cellphones in classrooms around the world. Photo credit: Spenser Heaps/Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — With most of Utah returning to school this week, the question of should cellphones be banned from classrooms has come up again.

The Deseret News reports that the United Nations has issued a call to ban all cellphones from classrooms around the world. 

Ben Horsley, spokesman for the Granite School District, joined KSL NewsRadio to discuss if such a ban is likely to occur within the district.

“And banned is a strong word,” Horsley said. “The kids are still able to bring their devices to the school campus. But they’re required to leave them in their bag. Or, not have them out to distract them while they’re actually supposed to be learning.”

Not banned, however, cellphones must not be a “nuisance”

What would happen if a student didn’t put their phone away and snuck it into the classroom?

“That would empower the teacher to be able to remove the phone,” Horsley said. “And hold it until the end of the class period.”

Horsley also says if there are multiple violations by the same student, a meeting between parents and school administrators would be required to get the phone back.

“We would give the phone back to the parent, not to the student,” he said. “Because it’s obviously proven to be too much of a nuisance and an attraction.”

During the legislative session earlier this year, Rep. Trevor Lee, R-Layton, had introduced legislation to keep cellphones out of the classroom. His bill would have required there to be a cubby or holster of some sort for cellphones in elementary classrooms. He says the cubby or holster would be available in every classroom for students in middle school and high school.

His bill failed to pass in the legislature. 

“What his legislation would essentially do is provide our schools,” Horsley said. “And particularly our teachers with the coverage necessary to enforce that.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Should cellphones be banned from the classroom?