America’s 2nd-largest School District Bans Cellphones and Social Media

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America’s 2nd-largest School District Bans Cellphones and Social Media

By Movieguide® Contributor

The Los Angeles Unified School District board took a vote on Tuesday to ban social media and cell phones for students.

The vote, which affects the U.S.’s second-largest school district, passed 5-2.

The ban comes just a day after “U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy called for an immediate warning label on social media platforms in a New York Times op-ed, similar to warnings on cigarette packs mandated by Congress in the 1960s,” Good Morning America reported Tuesday.

One teacher in the district who advocated for the vote to pass said teachers have an “uphill battle” when they try to curb teen phone use.

“Managing student use of smartphones as a classroom teacher is now more like running a nonstop marathon. It takes a lot of energy and it’s really hard to keep up,” said high school math teacher Jessica Quindel.

This struggle comes despite that the district’s 429,000 students’ phone use was already banned during classes and social media use was limited to “educational purposes” only.

“The school district will now have to develop and present updated cellphone and social media policies within 120 days, or by the fall semester, that would forbid students by the spring semester of the 2024-2025 school year from using cellphones and social media platforms during the school day,” GMA said.

“LAUSD cited possible tactics like locked pouches, cellphone lockers or technological means and promised the policies would be ‘informed by best practices and by input from experts in the field, labor partners, staff, students, and parents.,” GMA reported.

The policy changers will take into consideration those who are dependent on their phones for things like translation.

“The mental health crisis among young people is an emergency — and social media has emerged as an important contributor,” Murthy wrote on Monday.

He reported that last summer’s stats show teens spent an average of five hours per day on social media, and have high rates of anxiety and depression.

Murthy told GMA his proposed warning label for social media will need to get congressional approval. It would appear as a digital label, seen regularly on social media.

“The exact design of it, the frequency with which it appears — that would all be determined in a scientific testing process that we would undergo after Congress authorized the label,” Murthy said. “That’s what we do with tobacco and alcohol labels, and the good news about labels is that we thankfully know from experience that these labels actually do work. In the case of tobacco labels, they are effective in increasing awareness and in changing behavior.”

In 2023, Florida banned phone use in public school classrooms. The Manchester Public School District in Connecticut currently mandates that student must keep phones in locked pouches when they enter school. Oklahoma, Indiana, Kansas, Washington, and Vermont have proposed similar rules.

Movieguide® reported on Florida’s ground-breaking social media ban in March:

Florida just passed a law that bans children under 13 from creating accounts on social media.

“It’s not designed to address the content per se, which may receive certain First Amendment protections, but it’s designed to address the addictive qualities, the addictive features of social media,” said Melissa Henson, Vice President of Programs for Parents Television and Media Council.

The law, called “HB 3,” bans children under 13 and requires parental consent for 14 and 15-year-olds who wish to make accounts. It also requires pornography sites to use age verification methods for their users. The law will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2025.

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