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School Officials Looking To Ban Cellphones In Class

16 March 2019
School Officials Looking To Ban Cellphones In Class

Education Minister Lisa Thompson says banning cellphones will force students to focus on their learning rather than their personal technology.

Whether or not cell phones are allowed in class is up to individual schools, according to English School Board policy in this province. "We will be making a formal announcement in the near future".

Most, if not all, schools and school boards already have cellphone and technology related policies in place.

Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning - not their cellphones. These improvements were mostly demonstrated among the students who were typically "low achieving".

For example, in Canada's capital, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has an Appropriate Use of Technology policy.

Exceptions would be made for when teachers want to use cellphones as part of their lesson, for medical reasons and students with special needs.

NDP education critic Marit Stiles noted that a recent memo from the education ministry advised school boards to defer filling vacancies for retirements and other leaves for teachers and other staff until a promised update by March 15.

While Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner agrees that cellphones can be a distraction, he is critical of what he describes as the government's "top-down regulation" approach.

"Minister Eggen trusts Alberta's teachers and school boards to make their own rules regarding the use of cellphones in their classrooms", he said Tuesday.

While input on changing the sex education curriculum dominated headlines, education consultations conducted over the past year gathered feedback on the potential to ban cellphones from classrooms, the Canadian Press article states. Results found that 97 per cent of respondents wanted some sort of control over cellphone use in class.

Banning cellphone use in primary and secondary school classrooms was also one of Premier Doug Ford's education campaign promises to maximize classroom learning.

The Ontario Public School Boards' Association appears to have a similar statement.

In 2015, NY ended its ban on cellphones, giving schools the authority to create their own, in part because parents wanted to be able to contact their children, and it was not equally enforceable.