As Los Angeles Schools Ban Cell Phones, Shanley’s Principal Reflects on the First Year of a Similar Policy: InForum

FARGO — The Los Angeles School Board will ban students from using cell phones during the school day starting in the spring semester of 2025.

Last school year, a school in our area introduced a similar plan for the first time.

On the first day of the 2023-2024 school year, Shanley High School implemented a policy requiring cell phones to be turned off and stored in a locker, car or backpack during the school day. After a full year with the ban, administrators are pleased with the results.

“From the first day of school, the volume was turned up in the lunchroom. It was turned up for all the right reasons. They were talking to each other, they weren’t just playing games, they weren’t just scrolling through their social media. They were talking with each other, they laughed, they repeated discussions in class,” said Father Kyle Metzger, the principal of Shanley High School.

Feedback from teachers was positive across the board, with increased engagement in lessons noted.

“I gave them a survey at the end of the year with some questions about how it went, do we need to make any adjustments, 100% said leave it as it is. It has improved the school dramatically,” Metzger said.

While students may not be happy about not being able to use their phones during the school day, some have seen the light.

“At graduation, one of the seniors came up to me and thanked me, and he said thank you for the new policy, my grades got better,” Metzger said.

With a new Minnesota law mandating cell phone policies for school districts next May, school boards like the one in Detroit Lakes are debating how to handle cell phones in the future.

Based on what they’ve seen with their policies, Metzger believes other schools should strongly consider plans like theirs.

“If you really want students to learn more, you’re going to have to bring order to this issue, and you’re probably going to have to take some bold steps, which I think we’ve done here at Shanley High School,” Metzger said.

Metzger says that since the cell phone policy started at Shanley, other administrators locally, regionally and beyond have reached out about how it’s going.