Senate Passes Aument Bill Limiting Smartphone Use in Schools

Bill would improve student mental health, academic performance, and social skills.

HARRISBURG – The Senate passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) to improve students’ mental health and academic performance by limiting their use of smartphones in schools. The bill passed by a margin of 45-5, demonstrating strong bipartisan support.

Senate Bill 1207 would establish the Cell Phone Lockable Bag Pilot Program to award grants to participating schools to purchase secure, lockable smartphone bags in which students would deposit their mobile devices until the end of the school day. The bill would then require participating schools to track certain metrics like academic performance, mental health, and instances of bullying and other behavioral issues to study the impact of a smartphone-free school on students.

“Kids spend so much time on social media and using their smartphones that it’s taking a toll on them mentally, emotionally, and academically. Smartphone restrictions have proved successful in reversing these trends,” Aument said. “Students deserve to learn without a constant distraction in their pockets, and my legislation would give them that.”

Since the early 2010s, there has been a steep decline in mental health in children, and their academic performance is suffering. This decline directly correlates to the rise of smartphones and social media apps.

“Last year alone, the commonwealth provided $100 million in new funding to schools to care for their students’ mental health. While we continue to provide resources to help students in need of mental health services, we must also target one of the root causes of our children’s mental distress: widespread access to smartphones and social media apps,” Aument said.

Senate Bill 1207 would also require schools participating in the program to include exemptions in their smartphone use policy for students who have a documented medical condition – such as diabetes – that requires the use of a smartphone.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Learn more about Senate Bill 1207 and the research supporting it on Aument’s website at

CONTACT: Stephanie Applegate

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