Should students be allowed to carry cellphones in school?

Children and teens having mobile devices has become commonplace over the past decade, which has sparked a debate on whether cellphones should be allowed in schools

Rise of the Issue

As cellphone ownership becomes more and more common, lawmakers have been tasked with forming the best policy to handle this new issue in schools. Although cellphones can alleviate many communication problems, they tend to bring up other issues that officials have not had to deal with in the past. 

Many parents are concerned that a ban on cellphone use in school will prevent them from reaching their children in an emergency. Additionally, cellphones are often used today as educational aids in the classroom, and the ban of cellphone possession in the classroom would prevent this. However, many educators and lawmakers have turned to mental health experts about the potential downsides of having 24/7 access to a cellular device. Calls for banning cellphones in classrooms also cite potential cheating and academic risks that come with the permission to use cellphones in class.

Issue Timeline


First mobile phone invented

The first cellphone is invented, but it is not yet commonly found among the public due to its novelty.


Schools ban cellphones

Because of a fear that this technology would be abused in classrooms, schools across the country placed a ban on cellphones at school.


Parent outrage leads to more lax cellphone rules

After several safety concerns about mass shootings and other emergencies, parents insisted upon the ability for their students to have access to phones at school.


Teachers begin implementing cellphones in classrooms

Educators across the country began incorporating new technology, like smartphones, into the classroom to use them as teaching tools.


Cellphone presence in schools becomes more common

The majority of schools allow students to have phones in the classroom; however, there are typically strict requirements regarding the use of these devices.

Micro Issues



Opponents of cellphones in schools say that this will lead to even more distraction in the classroom, limiting the learning potential of students. Those in favor say that distraction is inevitable regardless of cellphone policies, and that educators must simply regulate the use of phones.


Emergency Situations

Concerned caregivers argue that they must be able to contact their children in case there is a sudden change of plans or an emergency, while opponents of phones in schools often say that these caregivers could simply call the school to alert them of the emergency, and the school could alert the student.



Those opposed to phones in schools say that cyberbullying becomes even more prevalent when students have access to their mobile devices in the classrooms. Proponents say that cyberbullying will happen at home too, and that educators and school officials simply must address the issue of cyberbullying if and when it becomes an issue.

Pro Arguments


Students need to be able to contact family members while at school.

In case of an emergency, students should have access to their cellphones so that family members can contact them if necessary.


Students can use their cellphones as an educational tool.

Technology has its benefits, and allowing phones in the classroom can allow students to take advantage of this technology and learn in a unique way.


Cellphones will make students more comfortable being away from home.

Having access to something familiar to them will help students feel more comfortable in the classroom, thus allowing them to focus more on class concepts.


Students can communicate with one another through the use of their phones.

Cellphones at school could help facilitate interaction between peers, thus allowing students to make friends more easily and keep in contact with them after the school day.


Allowing students to have phones in class shows respect and trust.

Students will feel more respected if they have access to their personal cellphones, which can help them build a more trusting relationship with themselves and their instructors.

Con Arguments


Cellphones make it much easier to cheat.

With cellphone access in the classroom, students could easily contact one another or find information online during a test.


Students will be more distracted in class.

Instead of learning, students will likely be concentrated on communicating with their friends or spending time on social media during class, which limits their learning potential.


Incidents of theft will increase.

Bringing their phones to school puts students at risk of being stolen, which causes a new array of issues for the students, the parents, and the school.


Economic disparities between students will be highlighted.

Many students’ families do not have the means to buy them a phone, or the latest trend in terms of technology, which could lead to bullying and jealousy in the classroom.


It disrupts order in the classroom.

Allowing students to have their cellphones in class puts teachers in the difficult position of having to police students so that they do not use their phones, which is very time-consuming and distracting for the teacher as well as for the students.