Ontario to ban cellphones from classrooms: CP

Gerardo Harmon
March 16, 2019

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

That means students could use them in between classes, at lunch, and during after-school activities.

"You think of a school that has hundreds or thousands of students coming into the building", he said.

The announcement is expected in the "near future".

A number of schools already have similar policies in place, including Limestone District School Board in Kingston.

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"Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning, and not their cell phones", she said in a written statement Tuesday, March 12. Changes the government is making to the Ontario Autism Program as of April 1 have come under fierce criticism from parents and advocates, who say kids now won't the levels of therapy they need.

The Peel District School Board policy states that students "will use devices responsibly" only after getting permission and direction from teachers. Exemptions include lesson plans that integrate phones and for students with medical and/or special needs.

WECDSB spokesperson Stephen Fields tells CTV Windsor, the planned cell phone ban and continued educational use aren't necessarily in conflict.

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 researcher for the Alberta Teachers Association said he doesn't think a ban will work.

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

"Our government will be introducing a ban on cellphones in the classroom".

Education consultation surveys from previous year suggested that approximately 97 percent of respondents supported some form of restriction on phones in class, according to the government sources.

"Instead of empowering schools to create reasonable cellphone use policies, Ford is promising a provincewide ban that is impossible to enforce".

About 97 per cent of respondents favoured some sort of restriction on phones in class, the sources said. The improvements were largely seen among the students who were normally the lowest achieving.

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