Classroom Cellphone Ban to be Introduced by Ontario Government

Alonzo Simpson
March 16, 2019

According to The Canadian Press, the provincial government is planning to announce this week its intention to ban cellphones from Ontario classrooms.

Thames Valley District school board education director Laura Elliott said it already has a similar policy and welcomes the ban if it still allows phones to be used for teaching purposes within a classroom.

Among the feedback sent to the ministry of education, educators complained that phones were not only a distraction but that students were also using them to cheat and share unflattering photographs of teachers on social media.

Over the past number of years, school boards across the province have been using more technology to teach, and Fields said his board is no exception.

The formal announcement of the ban is expected in the near future.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) abandoned a cellphone ban policy back in 2011 after officials determined that it was next to impossible to enforce.

"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 added.

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The Green Party of Ontario issued a statement calling the ban "bumper sticker" politics and accused the Doug Ford government of trying to turn public attention away from the controversy around its handling of the autism services file.

McRae agrees with Alberta's education minister that schools and teachers should be given the opportunity to figure out a balance on their own.

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

The Tory government conducted education consultations a year ago, and while input on the sex-education curriculum dominated headlines, feedback was also gathered on a potential classroom cellphone ban.

One of these government sources explained to CTV News, "When the school day starts, the phones go off".

Nova Scotia's education minister says the province won't ban cellphones in classrooms.

Teacher Ben Sichel is not in favour of a cellphone ban. Results found that 97 per cent of respondents wanted some sort of control over cellphone use in class. The improvements were largely seen among the students who were normally the lowest achieving.

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