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Phones’ Distraction in Class Prompts More States to Push Schools for Bans

Credits: The Washington Post

In California, a high school teacher complains that students watch Netflix on their phones during class. In Maryland, a chemistry teacher says students use gambling apps to place bets during the school day.

Around the country, educators say students routinely send Snapchat messages in class, listen to music, and shop online, among countless other examples of how smartphones distract from teaching and learning.

The hold that phones have on adolescents in America today is well-documented, but teachers say parents are often not aware to what extent students use them inside the classroom. And increasingly, educators and experts are speaking with one voice on the question of how to handle it: Ban phones during classes.

Phones’ Distraction in Class (Credits: NZ Herald)

“Students used to have an understanding that you aren’t supposed to be on your phone in class. Those days are gone,” said James Granger, who requires students in his science classes at a Los Angeles-area high school to place their phones in “a cellphone cubby” with numbered slots.

“The only solution that works is to physically remove the cellphone from the student.” Most schools already have rules regulating student phone use, but they are enforced sporadically.

A growing number of leaders at the state and federal levels have begun endorsing school cellphone bans and suggesting new ways to curb access to the devices.

The latest state intervention came in Utah, where Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, last month urged all school districts and the state Board of Education to remove cell phones from classrooms.

He cited studies that show learning improves, distractions are decreased, and students are more likely to talk to each other if phones are taken away.

Other states, such as New York and New Jersey, have also introduced bills to ban or restrict cellphone use in schools. In some cases, schools have implemented their policies, such as requiring students to store their phones in lockers during class time.

While the debate over cellphone use in schools continues, many educators believe that limiting access to phones during class can lead to a more focused and productive learning environment.

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