Ontario Government To Ban All Cellphones From Classrooms Next Year

Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms

Ontario's education Minister Lisa Thompson announced the new policy on Tuesday, after a year of consultations.

The directive for 2019-2020 bans all phones from instructional time, but leaves enforcement to individual boards and schools.

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

Ministry of education officials, speaking on background, said students wouldn't be expected to lock up their phones and while enforcement will be hard, it will be left up to school boards. "It's making sure that you create a culture where we know where the boundaries are".

"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. "We've got a lot of classrooms where students are actually provided with Chrome books and iPads and those kinds of things", said Fields.

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For example, in Canada's capital, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has an Appropriate Use of Technology policy.

"I think it's a good idea", says Lynn Hutchinson, a local teacher in Windsor.

And the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) even used to have a ban on cellphones, but lifted the ban in 2011 after student trustees argued that technology had become a pervasive part of student life, CBC reports.

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.

The Ontario provincial government conducted consultations on the cellphone ban previous year, with 97 percent of respondents favoring some sort of restriction on phones in class, according to Thompson.

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About 97 per cent of respondents favoured some sort of restriction on phones in class, the sources said.

The Ford government plans to ban the devices as of next school year in classrooms across the province.

The Ontario Public School Boards' Association appears to have a similar statement. The board has previously said that enforcing an outright ban was next to impossible, and said that to curb technology use would be to place limits on educational opportunities as well.

Teacher Ben Sichel is not in favour of a cellphone ban.

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