Ohio schools must have cellphone policies under law signed by DeWine

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Ohio’s K-12 schools will be required to develop cellphone policies for students, under a law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine Wednesday. The measure made its way through the Legislature and to DeWine just over a month after he suggested it in his State of the State speech.

A group of people stand in a close circle holding smartphones.
[Carballo | Shutterstock]
DeWine signed the law at Karrer Middle School in Dublin. Alongside him was Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who has also been outspoken in his concerns about cellphone and social media usage by kids.The required cellphone policy was added to House Bill 250, which started as a bill to change the military seal that high school students can earn for graduation. The Senate added the provision requiring schools to adopt a cellphone policy for students, which passed unanimously, as it did in the House.The bill also requires the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce to create a model policy that schools can use when coming up with their cellphone rules for students.There’s been little opposition to the idea. The Ohio Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, has said teachers are frustrated with how phone use can distract from learning.In his State of the State speech, DeWine said that cell phones are “detrimental to learning. They are detrimental to our kids’ mental health. And they need to be removed from the classroom.”

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said afterward that was “a great idea.” But House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) was more cautious, saying districts already have the authority to ban or limit cellphones if they choose.