Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is hoping to minimize student use of cell phones during school hours with the publication of a model policy released by his administration.

“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 Gov. DeWine. “Schools that implement this model policy will quickly see positive results by giving children a break from the nonstop notifications that have proven to be harmful to student performance and mental health.”

The Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) created the model policy as part of the requirements of House Bill (HB) 250, which Gov. DeWine recently signed into law. 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 that it adheres to all of the requirements within HB 250.

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

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 at all times when cell phone use is prohibited.

The governor’s office does note that 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.

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.


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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs