Solving Cell Phones in Schools

This op-ed was originally published in City Weekly on January 10, 2024.

The topic of cell phone bans in schools has been popping up over and over again in the news. There are articles from USA TodayEd Week and The 74 Million. Governments around the world are banning their use in schools. Even Utah politicians are talking about creating a policy to ban them in schools.

Advocates say that banning cell phones will improve student achievement, decrease student misbehavior and improve the overall climate of the school. But do these bans work?

They do if the ban comes from the parents, teachers and students at the school.

A recent Salt Lake Tribune article highlighted one instance where students helped create their no-cell-phone policy. This policy is working and the students are not complaining.

What does this mean? We don’t need top-down solutions for local problems. As well intentioned as all of the laws, policies and rules are, they are less effective if they are forced from on high.

Instead, we need local solutions that are created by the people who are affected by the problem.