Ontario to ban cellphones from classrooms

Ontario to ban cellphones from classrooms

The Canadian Press is reporting that the Ontario government will announce this week that it plans to introduce legislation banning cellphones in classrooms, starting in the next school year.

"Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning - not their cellphones", Thompson said in a statement Tuesday.

"By banning cellphone use that distracts from learning, we are helping students to focus on acquiring the foundational skills they need like reading, writing and math", she said.

"Beginning next school year, cellphones will no longer be allowed in the classroom unless they are required for educational purposes, health, and medical purposes, or to support special needs", says Thompson. "It's making sure that you create a culture where we know where the boundaries are".

"I feel that our cell phones can be used as a tool if used in the right way", says Brooke Demers, a student at St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic High School.

"It was the closest thing we got in our consultation to unanimity", one source said.

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.

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Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, said it doesn't sound like the policy will differ from what is already happening in schools.

Ontario has made a decision to ban cellphones in classrooms, but Alberta is not ready to make that call.

The Peel District School Board policy states that students "will use devices responsibly" only after getting permission and direction from teachers.

The Progressive Conservatives had proposed such a ban in their platform during last year's election campaign.

The move was praised by many, but some say the ban is antiquated and a missed opportunity to teach children about responsible technology use.

That means students could use them in between classes, at lunch, and during after-school activities. "I think the teacher should be in control of the technology and so the teacher should be bringing the technology to the classroom".

The ban is set to begin in the upcoming school year.