Calls for mobile phones to be banned from SA classrooms

Alonzo Simpson
June 26, 2019

"I think what we can't get around is the impact that phones are having when they are used in the classroom".

Exceptions will only be granted to students who use their phones to monitor health conditions, or where teachers instruct students to bring their phone for a particular classroom activity.

From Term 1 2020, students in Victorian state primary and secondary schools will be banned from using their mobile phones, with the devices to be switched off and stored in lockers from the start of the school day through to the final bell.

Victoria is a year behind NSW where the state government introduced a ban from 2019 onwards, with the announcement made in December last year.

"I know this won't be universally popular, but I've come to the conclusion that it's the right thing to do", Mr Merlino said.

Mr Merlino said teachers are constantly asking kids to put their phones away and he called the decision to ban them during school hours, including lunch and recess "common sense".

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A similar policy was first proposed by the Liberal opposition in February 2018, before the November state election at which time the Andrews government said bans were the decision of individual schools.

"It's very hard for teachers to teach when they are trying to discipline against the constant use of mobile phones", he said.

"For all these reasons I think by far the most common sense approach is to say mobile phones can not be during class times at schools". "It's not going to (absolutely) resolve cyber-bullying, but it will make a big difference", he said. "But we can take some real steps to reduce the level of bullying".

"Mr Merlino will have to ban all laptops and tablets if he is going to more than pay lip service to this issue, otherwise this appears to be nothing more than a shallow stunt", he wrote.

Teachers at the school have reported that students are more focused during class and communicating more in the school yard.

Earlier this month Auckland's Diocesan School for Girls implemented a policy for its year 7 to 10 students of no cellphones during school hours, laptop use only when directed by the teacher and no headphones on school grounds. "[Since the ban] we have observed improved social connections, relationships and interactions in the school during lunchtime".

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