Proposed Ohio bill would ban TikTok, cell phone use in classrooms

CLEVELAND (WJW) – A new Ohio House Bill would shake up the school day for students across Ohio by prohibiting the use of electronic devices, cell phones and social media in the classroom if passed.

“The classroom is for study. It’s not for texting, watching TikTok or Snapchat or ordering your lunch,” said State Representative Tom Young, a Republican representing the Dayton area.

Young is a primary sponsor of House Bill 485.

If passed, every Ohio school district would have to create its own mandatory policy.

Northeast Ohio couple’s ashes stolen before reaching final resting place in California

There are exceptions for emergency or healthcare situations regarding cell phone use.

Young called it a positive step forward to curb the negative influence of social media at school on K-12 students.

“All it takes is one picture to be sent to a group of students, one bullying situation and the misuse of an electronic device in a classroom to affect a person’s life in a negative way,” said Young.

Earlier this month, Governor Mike DeWine echoed the concern during his State of the State address.

“Let’s be clear, it is disruptive,” Young said. “There are issues of bullying, there are issues of mental health problems caused by the use of these cell phones.”

Some school districts, including Parma, have already implemented a limit on cell phone use in classrooms. Last year, FOX 8 reported on how some Normandy High School students’ phones were locked in a safe during school hours.

The bill would also mandate the adoption of an internet safety policy for students who use internet access provided by a school district and specifically prohibit TikTok in addition to limiting student access at school to “age-appropriate subject matter and materials” online.

Why are flags at half-staff in Ohio?

“When you speak with young people, students, which I have, there’s been no pushback whatsoever,” said Young. “We never listen to the students, it’s a bunch of adults making rules and this bill is listening to what they say.”

The bill would also ban schools from using TikTok to promote any district activity or school-sponsored club. Young said he anticipates pushback from social media companies and has meetings set up to speak with them. He did not identify which companies he had communicated with.

The bill awaits a committee assignment.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to Fox 8 Cleveland WJW.