Granite School District lays down the law on cellphones in schools

May 9, 2024, 5:00 AM

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 — Granite School District has drafted a policy restricting the use of cellphones in school and during class. Instead of rules changing from school to school, the policy provides consistency districtwide for students, faculty and parents.

Discussing the ban with KSL NewsRadio, Ben Horsley, chief of staff for the Granite School District, said consistency in applying the rules at every school and for every student is vital.

“The kids are connected enough. Parents are connected enough. They know what other schools around them are doing, and if that’s inconsistent, it builds disdain, and it makes it more difficult for enforcement at the locations where there are more restrictions,” he said.


Two types of cellphone bans

According to the Granite School District website, the policy:

  1. Prohibits cellphones and inappropriate use of smartwatches or other personal electronic devices for elementary and junior high students during school hours.

“They just cannot be out at all. (Devices) could be in a backpack. They could be in your pocket. You just can’t have that technology out — any sort of personal device,” Horsley said.

      2. Prohibits cellphones and inappropriate use of smartwatches or other personal electronic devices for senior high students during instructional time. Administrators would permit phones and other technology during passing time and lunch periods.

“A lot of our students are using apps on their phones to actually connect and participate in school,” Horsley said.

He added there would be exceptions for emergencies and 504 medical plans. 

Feedback from parents and kids

The district recently surveyed parents and students about the proposed cellphones-in-schools policy, Horsley said.

“Students do not like any sort of restrictions whatsoever. And they feel like they can engage [in education] without any sort of restrictions, which clearly the data indicates otherwise. Parents were vastly — very supportive of restrictions.”

Four types of warnings

  1. For students violating the district’s cellphone policy, the first warning is to put away the phone, earbuds or other personal electronic device, Horsely said.
  2. The second warning can be confiscating the student’s electronic device in class.
  3. The third warning: the student goes to the administration office, which would contact parent(s) about collecting the cellphone or other device.
  4. The fourth warning is “to engage with the families a lot more significantly to find a path forward,” Horsely said.


Norway’s ban on cellphones in middle schools shows positive results. Will Utah do the same?

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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Granite School District lays down the law on cellphones in schools