Ogden High School bans phones in classrooms

Feb 5, 2024, 6:00 PM

Kindergarteners Daleyza Plancarte Castro, left, Aitana De La Cruz and Alexis Bernal wait to change ...

FILE: Kindergarteners Daleyza Plancarte Castro, left, Aitana De La Cruz and Alexis Bernal wait to change classrooms at Daniels Canyon Elementary School in Heber City on March 29, 2022. Beginning May 1, 2024, kindergarteners in Utah will need to demonstrate they can use the bathroom properly. (Kristin Murphy /Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy /Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — After Utah Gov. Spencer Cox sent letters to school leaders asking for a ban on phones in classrooms in the state, Ogden High School started doing just that, beginning Monday, Feb. 5. 

Students can keep their phones in their backpacks, but a three-strike policy is in force if they are caught using phones in classrooms.

Jer Bates, spokesman for the Ogden School District, joins KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and Taylor Morgan to discuss the new policy.

“These devices aren’t going away. What we need to do is help these young people understand how to use them responsibly and effectively,” he said.


Bates said the no-cellphone ban at Ogden High isn’t revolutionary or groundbreaking. Ben Lomond High School in Ogden City previously implemented the same policy.

Uniform policy on phones in class now in place

He said the ban is providing uniformity and clarity to what was previously a patchwork policy at the school.

“The big difference here, you guys,” said Bates, “is that it’s simply applying uniformity to the rule because at Ogden High School previously, in most of our classrooms, we’ve had some form or another of no-cellphone policy.”

“However, it wasn’t uniform. Teachers didn’t have a set expectation for how they would enforce the policy. Now, what we’ve done is we’ve taken out the ambiguity, and everybody knows a certain set of rules from one class to another,” Bates said.

He added that he checked with the school’s principal the morning of Feb. 5.  “It’s all quiet. We’ve had some students saying they are getting more work done in class,” she said.

Kids are ‘rule-followers’

Bates said he doesn’t expect the three-strike policy to be used too extensively.

“A lot of kids, they really are rule-followers. If you just say kids, these are the rules, they will follow,” Bates said.

But if a student is having difficulty adopting the ban on cellphones, Bates said the school is not going to lean into punishment but rather seek to understand why the student is having a particularly difficult adjusting to and implementing the new policy.

“Let’s bring the family in and work together to try to see if we can find the root of the problem and work for a solution for this student,” Bates said.

He said the school has lockers for students’ cellphones — but hopes they are not ever used.

“The idea is hey, you come to class, you put it in your backpack, we never see it, it’s not a problem. The lockers are simply in place to help really reinforce that message of — hey if you do take it out in class, the teacher sees it, that’s where it’s going to go,” he said.


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Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Ogden High School bans phones in classrooms