HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Ryan Aument to improve students’ mental health and learning by limiting their use of cellphones in schools passed the Senate Education Committee today by a vote of 10-1, positioning it for possible consideration in the final 2024-25 state budget. Senate Bill 1207 would incorporate the use of secure, lockable phone bags in which students would deposit their mobile devices until the end of the day at schools. Aument says, “Students’ cellphone use in schools is a major issue, not just when it comes to classroom distractions, reduced student attention spans, and declining academic performance – it also negatively impacts their mental health and social skills. The data is clear and has confirmed what parents, teachers, and administrators are experiencing in the classroom.” According to 2023 data provided by the Pew Research Center, teenagers spend an average of three and a half hours a day on social media. Teens report feeling overwhelmed by the drama on social media and feeling worse about their own lives as a result of using it. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration, and Aument is hopeful for quick passage so that the funding provided by the pilot program can be offered to schools for the beginning of the 2024-25 school year.