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Updated News Release - L.A. Unified Becomes Largest School District Nationally to Approve Cell Phone Ban During School Day (06-18-24)

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ally Salvaria, Communications Director
Phone: (818) 726-6151

L.A. Unified Becomes Largest School District Nationally to Approve Cell Phone Ban During School Day   


LOS ANGELES, CA – June 18, 2024 –  L.A. Unified today approved Board Member Nick Melvoin’s resolution to create truly phone-free school days across the District. Studies show that smartphones and social media are distracting kids from learning, eroding their mental health, and stifling in-person social connection. L.A. Unified is the largest school district to implement a smartphone ban during the school day, with the goal of supporting students’ academic success and wellbeing.


“Kids no longer have the opportunity to just be kids,” said Melvoin. “I’m hoping this resolution will help students not only focus in class, but also give them a chance to interact and engage more with each other—and just be kids.” 


The resolution, which was cosponsored by Board President Jackie Goldberg, Board Member Kelly Gonez, and Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin, calls on the District to create a comprehensive implementation policy to take effect in January of 2025. 


"Cell phone use in schools has gotten out of control,” said Board President Goldberg. “It's gotten to the point that students don't talk face to face, but instead text one another when they're sitting right next to each other! I joined forces with Board Members Melvoin and Ortiz Franklin to sponsor this resolution because research tells us what we already know: excessive cell phone use impacts students' mental health and academic performance. It's time to update our policy and make it a district-wide responsibility."


“The negative impacts of cell phone use in adolescents, particularly the addictive qualities of social media, are increasingly clear,” said Board Member Kelly Gonez. “It’s important that we take proactive steps in addressing these challenges when students are in our care, and updating our cell phone policy will help ensure we can focus on learning during the school day.”


“When I visit campuses during lunchtime, my heart breaks to see students sitting alone, isolated on their phones instead of engaging and learning with their peers. I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution as it marks a significant step towards fostering a culture of face-to face interactions and building a stronger, more connected and positive school community,” said Board Member Ortiz Franklin. “Supporting our staff to make this transition easy will be essential and we’re committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure successful implementation to create a culture where we become less reliant on our phones.”


“Consistent with my announcement months ago, it is time to formulate a legal strategy that contemplates, but is not restricted to, litigation against social media entities that use algorithms designed to directly appeal and eventually develop, an unhealthy addiction with mental and physical deleterious consequences for our youth,” said Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “When coupled with social media, phones are a harmful vehicle that negatively impacts young people.”


“It is important for the District to begin the conversation regarding the healthy use of technology, said Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III. “I look forward to the continued discussion regarding the use of cell phones and social media in schools.”


“A study on the harmful impacts of cell phones and their excessive use is long overdue,” said Board Member Dr. Rocío Rivas. “It is important for the Board of Education to balance many interests - including fostering distraction-free learning environments, minimizing inequitable implementation of school policies, and retaining some flexibility and resources for our schools to address their local interests and issues.” 



For more information, please call Ally Salvaria at 818-726-6151 or email at