Virginia Moves Toward 'Cellphone-Free Education'

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin issues executive order aimed at getting phones out of classrooms
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2024 3:00 AM CDT
Virginia Moves Toward 'Cellphone-Free Education'
FILE - Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin delivers his State of the Commonwealth address before a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly, Jan. 10, 2024, at the Capitol in Richmond, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Count Virginia among the states moving to get phones out of public school classrooms. On Tuesday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order directing the state's education department to start working toward "cellphone-free education," NBC News reports. Specifically, the Republican governor's order calls for the department to establish guidelines that would assist public schools in adopting their own policies aimed at "phone-free" classrooms, though the Washington Post reports the order is not meant to be an "outright ban" on phones in schools. Youngkin says cellphones and social media are causing both mental health and academic achievement to decline among students.

The order calls for schools to engage with members of the community, students, and parents to come up with age-appropriate restrictions on the use of phones during instructional time, while also establishing protocols to ensure parents would be able to contact their kids in the case of an emergency. Use of smart watches, tablets, computers, and other digital devices could also be restricted. "Creating cellphone and social media-free educational environments in Virginia's K-12 education system will benefit students, parents, and educators," Youngkin says in a statement. Specifically, the statement says, it will limit students' exposure to "addictive" cellphones and social media, and eliminate distractions from the classroom. Florida has banned cellphones from classrooms, and other states are considering similar restrictions. (More Virginia stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.