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US states want to ban phones in schools. It might be a challenge

As a middle-school teacher, Nancy Streit understands how hard it can be to compete with a smartphone for a child’s attention.

But as a mother, she knows the devices are a necessity when there’s an emergency.

“It’s mostly the parents calling,” she says, adding that while she doesn’t allow phone use in her classroom, students routinely skirt the rules.

The Los Angeles school district where Ms Streit teaches – the second largest school district in the country – is the latest to ban smartphone use in schools this week.

It is part of a growing and familiar trend as more states and schools across the US weigh how to manage the growing dependency children have on their devices.

New York and California, two of the most populous US states, are weighing new state-wide policies on the issue.

Earlier this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom called for a ban on smartphones in classrooms and said he would work with legislators on a policy. In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul has advocated for a similar law.

This spring, Indiana’s governor signed into law a classroom ban, set to begin in the autumn.

The efforts mark the latest chapter in a long debate over policing smartphone use in schools, and comes amid a wave of concern about youth mental health in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Most US schools already have some kind of phone policy. About 76% of schools prohibited their non-academic use in the 2021-2022 school year, according to the US

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