Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted Announce Model Policy for Cell Phones in Schools


Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) Director Stephen D. Dackin announced the publication of a model policy to minimize student use of cell phones during school hours.

“By removing the distraction of cell phones from classrooms, our school children will be free to flourish and will see improved academic engagement and social interaction,” said Governor DeWine. “Schools that implement this model policy will quickly see positive results by giving children a break from the nonstop notifications that have proven harmful to student performance and mental health.”

Ohio’s Cell Phones in Schools Model Policy

The model policy prohibits students from using cell phones or similar electronic communication devices on school property during school hours. It also requires that students keep their cell phones in a secure place – such as their locker, a closed backpack, or a storage device provided by the district – at all times when cell phone use is prohibited.

Exceptions are included for students using a cell phone for a documented purpose as part of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or for monitoring a health concern.

“The feedback from school administrators, students, and parents that I have spoken with as I have toured the state hosting roundtables on this topic has been unanimous. You improve student academic performance and reduce bullying and disciplinary issues when you get phones out of the classroom,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “It’s important that students are focused on their lessons rather than ‘likes’ and giving them a few hours out of the day without their phones will minimize their time on social media apps and algorithms that are addicting and harming them. Hopefully, this model policy will provide valuable guidance for our school districts.”

DEW created the model cell phone policy as part of the requirements of House Bill 250.

Recently signed by Governor DeWine, HB 250 calls for every school district in the state to establish an official policy governing cell phone usage and emphasizes limiting cell phones to the greatest extent possible.

School districts can either adopt DEW’s model policy or create their own policy, provided it adheres to all of the requirements within HB 250.

Along with the model policy, DEW has also published a toolkit with resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, and students. Specifically, the toolkit includes guidance to support school engagement without cell phones, as well as strategies for families to promote healthy behavior, set expectations for screen time, and reduce cell phone use outside of school.

“The need for action when it comes to cell phone restrictions during the school day was made clear after months of meetings with Ohio district and school leaders. We listened to their experiences and feedback and used these insights to inform the model policy and additional resources that we are proud to make available,” said Director Dackin. “I encourage school leaders to use these tools to engage their communities and adopt policies that enhance students’ ability to have a rich and rewarding learning experience while at school.”

Governor DeWine called on the Ohio General Assembly to enact legislation limiting cell phone use in schools during his State of the State Address last month, during which he also recognized the longstanding work of Lt. Governor Husted to advocate for limited cell phone usage in schools and support of parental consent requirements for children to use social media.

Sponsored by former Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) and Rep. Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville), and with the cell phone provision championed by Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware), HB 250 passed unanimously in both the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives.

All schools will be required to adopt cell phone policies no later than July 2025, ahead of the 2025-2026 school year.