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05/17/2024 08:15 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 22, 2024 09:58 AM
From: Representative Barbara Gleim
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibiting the Use of Mobile Devices During the School Day
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation implementing a policy that prohibits students from possessing or using personal mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablets, during the school day in our public schools.
Personal mobile devices provide constant access to social media, texting, games, videos, and other distracting apps and websites.  Studies show that the mere presence of a mobile device is associated with reduced attention and cognitive capacity as students cannot resist the urge to check notifications and messages.  This harms academic performance.
Research also links excessive screen time with developmental issues, lack of sleep, anxiety, depression, and weakened social skills - all issues schools should mitigate rather than enable.
My legislation will require students, upon entering the school building, to deposit the personal mobile device in a school-provided lockbox, or a case or pouch with a locking device.  The student may retrieve the mobile device during lunch periods and at the end of the school day.
The term “mobile device” does not include school-issued electronic devices, and the legislation provides exceptions to the prohibition for students who:
  • are members of a volunteer fire company, ambulance or rescue squad;
  • have a medical condition or have an immediate family member with a medical condition;
  • have a disability;
  • are English learners and use the device for translation purposes; or
  • are at a scheduled lunch period.
The legislation also requires public school entities to have a written policy, if not already in place, that includes a process for students and parents to contact each other during the school day if necessary.
This bill will allow students to be focused on their education without the distractions that come with mobile devices.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2043