Cell Phone Policy at School — 9 Rules & 6 Tips for Teachers (2023)

Many schools are banning students from using cell phones in class, but this may not be the smartest move. The top reason most schools prohibit students from using cell phones is to keep students from getting distracted from learning.

Cell Phone Policy at School — 9 Rules & 6 Tips for Teachers (1)

However, based on my experience, I think that cell phones definitely have a place in the classroom. They can be used in many ways to enhance the learning experience for students and provide them with access to materials and resources that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

A cell phone policy at school will help teachers balance these potential benefits of using cell phones for instruction while minimizing or eliminating the distraction potential cell phones pose.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how a cell phone policy can benefit all stakeholders at a school, keep reading! I’ll share:

  • The importance of crafting a cell phone policy for schools
  • Possible rules to include in your school’s cell phone policy
  • Strategies for managing cell phone use in the classroom

Why We Need a Cell Phone Policy at School

Despite the number of school districts that have banned the use of cell phones in school, banning phones from school is not the right answer.

Obviously, most students are against these bans. Watch what they say about it in this video.

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There are actually a number of reasons students should be allowed to use their phones in school. These include increasing the use of technology in the classroom, improving communication between teachers and students, helping students stay organized, and saving schools money by allowing students to access digital materials rather than relying so heavily on printed materials. Learn more about why students should be allowed to use cell phones in class in this article.

Cell Phone Policy at School — 9 Rules & 6 Tips for Teachers (2)

Developing a cell phone policy at school is essential to ensure students and teachers are able to enjoy the instructional benefits associated with using cell phones, while also ensuring the cell phones don’t become a distraction from learning.

Cell Phone Policy at School — 9 Rules

Coming up with the right rules for using cell phones in school is essential. Below, I’ve put together some rules to get you started with creating your own cell phone policy for your school or classroom. Every situation is unique, so you will want to think about your specific students, and modify these rules to help them meet the needs of your building.

  1. Cell phones may be used on school grounds before school, during lunch, and after school.
  2. Cell phone use is prohibited in classrooms, restrooms, and school offices, unless otherwise stated by a teacher.
  3. During the instructional day, cell phones must remain out of sight and in silent mode.
  4. Unless explicitly allowed by a staff member, headphones and other listening devices may only be used before and after school hours.
  5. Cell phones must be placed in lockers, backpacks, or another location away from students and their desks during tests and assessments.
  6. If students need to place an emergency phone call during the day, they should request to go to the main office to use an office phone.
  7. Students may be subject to disciplinary action if their use of their cell phone disrupts the school’s educational environment. Examples of this include, but are not limited to: cheating, bullying, harassment, unlawful recording or photographing, violating other school rules.
  8. The school and its staff are not responsible for any damage to or theft of a student’s cell phone. Students must properly secure and take care of their own phones.
  9. Students and their parents must read the cell phone policy and return a signed copy to the office at the beginning of the school year. Signing the policy acknowledges acceptance. Students will not be permitted to have their phones at school until the signed policy is returned.

If students violate the school’s cell phone policy, the following may occur:

  • First offense: The student’s cell phone will be confiscated by a staff member and held in the main office until the end of the school day. Before being allowed to pick up their phone at the end of the day, students must discuss and review the cell phone policy with a staff member.
  • Second offense: The student’s cell phone will be confiscated and held in the main office until the end of the school day. The student’s parents will be contacted and informed of the refusal to follow the school’s cell phone policy. Students may pick up their phones following after-school detention.
  • Third offense: The student’s cell phone will be confiscated and held in the main office until the student’s parents are able to come to pick it up. The student will receive after-school detention and will be prohibited from bringing their cell phone back on school grounds for two weeks.

**The administration reserves the right to adjust these consequences on a case-by-case basis if needed. For example, extreme behaviors that break the law or engaging in bullying or harassment of other students may result in suspension.

Cell Phone Policy at School — 9 Rules & 6 Tips for Teachers (3)

In addition to using the tips above to help you create a cell phone policy for your school or classroom, you can also review the policies of other schools or school districts. This can help you gain additional ideas that can help you craft a policy that will work for you and your students. To help you in this measure, I did some research and looked up the cell phone policies for a few different schools and districts.

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How to Maintain Cell Phone Management in the Classroom — 6 Tips for Teachers

Having a cell phone policy in place is just the first step. Proper management of your policy and cell phone use in your classroom is also essential. Use the tips below to help you manage cell phone use in your classroom. This will help ensure students are using cell phones in ways that will benefit their learning, not ways that will detract from it.

1. Purchase or Make Your Own Cell Phone Charging Station

A cell phone charging station and storage organizer can provide students with an acceptable place to keep their cell phones when they are not needed for instruction. You can add charging cables or allow students to bring their own chargers, to ensure their phones are ready to use when needed for instruction.

Cell Phone Policy at School — 9 Rules & 6 Tips for Teachers (4)

You can learn more about cell phone charging stations and storage organizers here. For those who prefer doing something with their own hands, I recommend find some DIY ideas here.

2. Use a Pocket Chart or Hangin Shoe Organizer

Number each slot on the organizer and assign each student a number. When students enter the room, they can place their phones in the slot with their numbers. This will also help prevent students from getting distracted by their phones during instruction.

3. Create a “Cell Phone Jail”

You can make a classroom cell phone jail where the phones of students who aren’t complying with the cell phone policy can go for the rest of the class period. If you see a student using their phone, ask them to place their phone in ‘jail’ for the remainder of the period.

Cell Phone Policy at School — 9 Rules & 6 Tips for Teachers (5)

4. Use Positive Reinforcement

Rather than only reprimanding students that have their phones out when they shouldn’t be out, give praise or classroom rewards to the students who consistently follow the cell phone policy.

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5. Create a Classroom Signal for Cell Phone Use

Sometimes students need to use their cell phones just for a moment to look up an unknown word, find a synonym, or review a topic. There may be times when you’re willing to permit such use, and other times when you’re not, such as during a test. Create a classroom hand signal that students can use to ask for permission without disrupting instruction or other students that are working. You can either give them a thumbs up to go ahead and use their cell phone or a thumbs down to let them know that now is not an acceptable time to have it out.

Cell Phone Policy at School — 9 Rules & 6 Tips for Teachers (6)

6. Work in a Few Cell Phone Breaks During the Day

Setting aside just two or three minutes during a class period where students are allowed to use their cell phones may make it less likely for them to try to sneak them out during other parts of the day. This can reduce distractions and help students focus on instruction.

Useful Resources

Closing Thoughts

The right cell phone policy at school can help students learn and reduce distractions. When students are able to use their cell phones appropriately during instruction, they can be powerful technological tools for researching, engaging with a lesson, providing feedback to peers, participating in classroom surveys, and more. The best cell phone policies also prevent students from pulling out their phones during inappropriate times, which can distract them from learning. Are you ready to use what you learned and begin crafting a cell phone policy that will work for your students?

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Simona Johnes

Simona Johnes is the visionary being the creation of our project. Johnes spent much of her career in the classroom working with students. And, after many years in the classroom, Johnes became a principal.

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What is the school cell phone policy? ›

Cell phones may be used on school grounds before school, during lunch, and after school. Cell phone use is prohibited in classrooms, restrooms, and school offices, unless otherwise stated by a teacher. During the instructional day, cell phones must remain out of sight and in silent mode.

Why Should cellphones be allowed at school? ›

Educational exposure to phones teaches kids the basics of digital citizenship. Knowing how to work a phone is one thing, but using it appropriately is another. Being a digital citizen means knowing how to engage with technology in a positive and beneficial way.

What are the rules for cell phone use? ›

So it's important to establish rules that will help your teen make healthy choices.
  • No Cell Phone Use Before School.
  • Follow School Rules.
  • No Cell Phones at the Dinner Table.
  • No Cell Phones During Family Time.
  • No Cell Phone Use During Homework Time.
  • No Cell Phone Use Overnight.
  • No Cell Phone Use While Driving.
1 Jun 2020

What are 5 reasons phones should be allowed in school? ›

Cell Phones in School: 11 Reasons Why They Should Be AllowedAdvertisement
  • Cellphones in school are inevitable.
  • Phones in school are good for the environment!
  • Phones in school teach digital literacy.
  • Phones in school improve communication.
  • Cellphones in school increase flexibility, convenience, and organization.

Why teachers can't take your phone? ›

Usually, schools take the stance that cellphone usage can cause a distraction or disrupt the learning process (can you blame them?). As such, you are typically prohibited from using your phone during class time and/or school hours.

Should cellphones be allowed in school yes or no? ›

Cell phones should not be allowed in schools because if the students get bored, they might use them to play games or do other activities that distract their attention from learning. In case of family emergency, the teachers have a cell phone and the parents could call them.

Why cell phones should not be banned in schools? ›

A ban could lead to more students being disciplined when they are caught using phones. That discipline, particularly if students are removed from class or school, could interfere with learning. Students may also sense a decline in school culture, leading them to feel less safe and less respected.

What gives teachers the right to take your phone? ›

If you are using your phone in class, teachers can legally take it, especially if your teacher or the school in general has imposed a no-phone policy. This is because the act of using a phone during class or on campus despite a no-phone policy is a form of bad behavior the school or a teacher may want to stomp out.

What can a teacher do to your phone? ›

Teachers have every right to seize your phone, but they have NO right to go through its contents unless you give them permission. It is illegal for a teacher to go through the private contents of your cellphone without your consent, and it is illegal for them to force you to do it yourself.

What are the 6 rules to cell phone etiquette? ›

6 phone rules that EVERYONE should know
  1. 1 Put your phone away during meetings. ...
  2. 2 Don't fiddle with your phone while driving. ...
  3. 3 Don't have your phone on the dinner table. ...
  4. 4 Mobile calls in public transportation isn't very polite. ...
  5. 5 Don't talk on the phone when you pay. ...
  6. 6 Keep your phone off in church, the theatre or similar.
28 May 2019

What are the 7 rules for using a cell phone at work? ›

Define Etiquette for Personal Cell Phones in the Workplace
  • Set cell phones to vibrate and ringtones to silent.
  • Speak quietly.
  • Keep calls short.
  • Take personal calls in private.
  • Avoid offensive language.
  • Use texting as a quick and quiet alternative to talking on the phone.
6 Mar 2017

What are 5 good etiquette rules for the use of your cell phone? ›

Etiquette for cell phones at work.
  • Be aware of your ringtone. ...
  • Don't look at your phone during meetings;
  • Don't place your phone on your lap;
  • Focus on the person that should have your attention i.e. customer, client, coworker, boss, etc;
  • Keep your personal calls private;
  • Keep your phone out of sight;
19 Aug 2020

What are the disadvantages of mobile phones in schools? ›

What are the disadvantages of children taking cell phones to school?
  • They're a huge distraction. ...
  • Cell phones can be a channel for bullying. ...
  • Digital addictions and mental health concerns. ...
  • Cheating in exams and learning the wrong way.
23 Aug 2022

Should teachers take cell phones? ›

Teachers picking up our cell phones shouldn't be allowed, unless it is causing a major distraction and used inappropriately. If phones are turned faced down on desks, it shouldn't be a problem for teachers, as long as the student is well engaged in class.

Do teachers actually have the right to take your phone? ›

Can my school restrict when I use my phone? YES. Your school can also confiscate your phone if you violate your school's cell phone policy. But that does not give it the authority to conduct a search.

Can teachers check your phone? ›

And, in California, students and teachers have just as much privacy as people on the street: A phone cannot be searched by school officials without a warrant, the student's consent or a legitimate emergency.

Are cell phones helpful or harmful? ›

Scientific Consensus on Cell Phone Safety

The weight of nearly 30 years of scientific evidence has not linked exposure to radio frequency energy from use of cell phones to health problems, such as cancer.

What are the positive and negative effects of cell phones? ›

Smartphones have a positive impact that is useful for learning online, looking for material that we do not understand on the internet, and others. On the other hand, smartphones also have a negative impact, namely on students who are addicted to using smartphones, cheat on assignments, lack focus in learning, etc.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of cell phones? ›

Comparison Table for Advantages and Disadvantages of Cell Phones
Businesses are able to reach more audience and grow large thanks to cell phonesCell phones can expose users to online bullying
Cell phones can ensure safety and wellbeingHas the potential to cause privacy and security issues
4 more rows
4 Feb 2022

How do cell phones affect students at school? ›

Many studies have investigated the so-called “downstream” effect of cell phone presence on learning. Students who split their attention between a learning task and texting on their cell phones or accessing Facebook, for example, perform poorly when compared to students who are not dividing their attention.

What are negative effects of cell phones? ›

Researchers have found that excessive phone usage leads to stress, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and relationship issues. Studies have also shown that young people experience withdrawal symptoms when away from their phone for a short period of time.

How do I stop students from using my phone? ›

Ways to Keep Students Off Their Cell Phones in Class
  1. Provide a Cell Phone Agreement. When parents and students know the expectations and consequences, they may be more likely to follow the guidelines. ...
  2. Keep Students Engaged. ...
  3. Utilize Positive Reinforcement. ...
  4. Use Technology as a Substitute. ...
  5. Be Active.

What is phone policy? ›

A cell phone policy is a set of guidelines regarding cell phone usage in the workplace. Your employees should be able to read your cell phone policy and understand what you expect of them when using their personal cell phone at work.

How do I use phone safety? ›

Keep mobile devices away from your body

All transmitting devices should keep away from your body. Avoid any direct contact with body and keep it inside bag or a pouch if possible. While sleeping, keep your mobile devices away from your bed and switch off mobile data and Wi-Fi options.

How long can teachers keep your phone for? ›

Teachers may take your phone if you are using it during class. They can't confiscate it forever. In most cases, they can only keep it for up to a couple of days. Check your school's code of conduct to know for how long.

What do you say when a teacher asks for your phone? ›

Be polite, as you do not want to get in further trouble, and you want your teacher to give you your item back without further conflict. Try something like: “I apologize for allowing myself to get distracted during class. I'll bring my phone to my locker and leave it there the rest of the day.”

How long can school keep your phone? ›

School policies vary. Some will confiscate a student's cell phone for the day, allowing the student to pick up the phone before they return home. Others will keep the phone for a week or two.

Do and don'ts of mobile phone? ›

Cell Phone Etiquette: The Do's And Don'ts You Should Know
  • Do:
  • Do give your undivided attention to your friend. ...
  • Do put your phone away. ...
  • Do utilize your voicemail. ...
  • Do filter your language when speaking on your phone in public places. ...
  • Do respect common quiet zones. ...
  • Don't:
  • Don't yell.

How do you answer the phone? ›

Answering Calls
  1. Try to answer the phone within three rings. ...
  2. Answer with a friendly greeting. ...
  3. Smile - it shows, even through the phone lines; speak in a pleasant tone of voice - the caller will appreciate it.
  4. Ask the caller for their name, even if their name is not necessary for the call.
7 Jul 2020

What are the 11 essential rules of phone etiquette elaborate those *? ›

Picking up the phone right away might leave you flustered.
  • Immediately introduce yourself. ...
  • Speak clearly. ...
  • Only use speakerphone when necessary. ...
  • Actively listen, and take notes. ...
  • Use proper language. ...
  • Remain cheerful. ...
  • Ask before putting someone on hold or transferring a call. ...
  • Be honest if you don't know the answer.
23 Jul 2020

What are the new mobile phone rules? ›

As of March 25, 2022, drivers will be officially breaking the law if they use their mobile phones for any purpose while driving.

What are 2 guidelines to follow when using a cell phone? ›

5 Guidelines for Personal Cell Phone Use
  • 1) Use it sparingly. The best place to keep your cell phone at work is out of reach, especially if you get distracted easily. ...
  • 2) Keep it quiet. ...
  • 3) Talk in private. ...
  • 4) Keep it out of the restroom. ...
  • 5) Don't use your phone during meetings.

What are the 10 rules of Internet etiquette? ›

10 rules of netiquette for students
  • Make sure identification is clear in all communications. ...
  • Review what you wrote and try to interpret it objectively. ...
  • If you wouldn't say it face to face, don't say it online. ...
  • Don't assume everyone understands where you're coming from. ...
  • Don't spam. ...
  • Use emoticons. ...
  • Respect others' privacy.

What is the 4 mobile phone etiquettes? ›

Don't make the other person wait. Always keep a notepad and pen with you to jot down important points. Make sure your mobile calls do not hamper your productivity. Don't go for long personal calls at workplace.

Which phone etiquette is important? ›

An important point that office phone etiquette considers is active listening. You should provide undivided attention to your caller with the least possible disturbances. It gives the impression that you care about the customer and his needs.

Why do schools have a no phone policy? ›

The rationale against cellphones in schools is that excessive exposure to the devices will have a negative effect on school-aged kids – lowering grades, promoting cyberbullying and even increasing the likelihood of teenage anxiety, depression and suicide. Kids can be sneaky, too.

Can a school force you to unlock your phone? ›

Can my school look through my phone without my permission? ONLY IN AN EMERGENCY* OR WITH A SEARCH WARRANT ISSUED BY A JUDGE based on “probable cause” that your phone contains evidence of a crime (meaning that a reasonable person would believe there is evidence in your phone).

Do schools allow mobile phones? ›

In most cases mobile phones are already banned for the majority of the school day with schools taking a range of measures to enforce that policy.

Do schools have the right to look through your phone? ›

And, in California, students and teachers have just as much privacy as people on the street: A phone cannot be searched by school officials without a warrant, the student's consent or a legitimate emergency.

How do phones affect students in school? ›

The existing studies provide evidence that allowing phones in the classroom negatively impacts test scores and long-term learning retention. There are some correlational studies that suggest negative relationships between off-task device use and student achievement.

Can a teacher take your phone? ›

When can a teacher (or SSPO) confiscate a mobile phone? A member of staff can search for and confiscate a mobile phone if: they have reasonable grounds to believe the pupil is breaching school rules with it, or. they have reasonable grounds to believe it is related to a criminal offence.

Why do high schools not allow phones? ›

“NSW Labor will restrict phone use in schools to help cut distraction, deal with cyber-bullying, and help improve student outcomes.” Ms Mitchell said schools were already able to ban phones, and urged parents with concerns to contact the principal.

How can I lock my kids phone in school? ›

Google's Family Link app allows you to schedule a span of time for the phone to be off, such as bedtime. But you can also completely lock the device so kids can't even get into it. Family Link requires two downloads, one for your phone and one for your kid's.

Can a teacher read your text messages? ›

Can schools read my kid's text messages? Yes. But only if it falls under one of the reasons allowed by school board policy or state law.

Can a teacher take your phone if its in your backpack? ›

A teacher cannot permanently confiscate your phone. They might confiscate a small toy like a fidget spinner if it's distracting in class, but a phone costs hundreds of dollars and was most likely purchased by the student's parents for the student.

Can schools see your screen? ›

Can school Wi-Fi see your screen? It is possible for an attacker to see someone's screen using specialized software if the connection is unsecured. However, the greater risk is a school Wi-Fi admin seeing what sites you're visiting and for how long. Using a VPN would help to prevent this kind of surveillance.


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