Ford government confirms ban on cell phones in classrooms is coming

Gerald Bowen
March 16, 2019

Although the Toronto District School Board had previously implemented a cellphone ban, it was reversed four years after its introduction to allow teachers to decide how to best manage cellphone use in their classrooms.

"Smartphones have become a huge distraction in classrooms, making it impossible for students to learn effectively", tweeted Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday morning.

"Last fall, we launched the largest-ever consultation on education in the history of Ontario", explained Thompson.

"I think we're going to have to look at exactly what they (the province) announces and see how we will go about enforcing it".

Would you be for or against a cellphone ban in schools across Western New York? "We've got a lot of classrooms where students are actually provided with Chrome books and iPads and those kinds of things", said Fields.

It will be up to individual schools and boards to enforce the ban, and exceptions would be made when teachers want to use cellphones as part of their lesson, for medical reasons and students with special needs.

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At the Greater Essex County District School Board, Superintendent of Education John Howitt said his board has had procedures in place for the use of personal electronic devices since 2010. "How do we maximize the benefit of it from a teaching and learning perspective?'" he said.

As the Ontario government is looking at banning cellphones in schools, some people are on the fence about whether or not an outright ban is the way to go.

"I think that this (announcement) has everything to do with a government that's trying to distract from the really serious and considerable concerns of families and education workers", she said.

The mother, who has two children in elementary school, says that although we live in a world that relies on technology, there's a time and a place for cellphones.

A 2015 London School of Economics and Political Science paper found that "student performance in high stakes exams significantly increases" with a ban on mobile phones. The improvements were largely seen among the students who were normally the lowest achieving.

"Schools and teachers have well established limits and boundaries with regard to cellphone use in schools and the classroom, similar to other classroom expectations, which are designed to create positive learning environments".

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