Radio You Need To Know
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ohio schools must have cellphone policies under law signed by DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine signs into law a bill requiring school districts to develop policies for cell phone usage for students
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. Mike DeWine signs into law a bill requiring school districts to develop policies for cell phone usage for students

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.

DeWine has been advocating for more control over social media and technology by kids.

“Cell phones in classrooms pose a significant challenge, a significant challenge to learning. It undermines instruction and exposes our kids to potentially harmful content," DeWine said.

DeWine signed the law, surrounded by students and staff at Karrer Middle School in Dublin. The superintendent of that district worked with state leaders to help develop the new bill. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who has also been outspoken in his concerns about cellphone and social media usage by kids, was also on hand for the signing.

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 DeWine signed into law doesn't mandate that schools ban cell phone usage.

“I don’t know that we had the support to get that done. And I think that this is a more logical way to approach it in the sense that we start at this level and we give schools the opportunity to do it. I think the vast majority of schools are going to do this," DeWine said.

The new law 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.

This story was updated with new information at 6:15 p.m.

Contact Jo Ingles at