East end middle school bans cellphones from classrooms and hallways
An empty school classroom is pictured. (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde)
Rachael D'Amore, CTV Toronto
Published Friday, February 17, 2017 8:12AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 17, 2017 8:25AM EST
Starting on Tuesday, students at Earl Grey Senior Public School in the city’s east end won’t be allowed to have or use cell phones while in classrooms and hallways.
Toronto District School Board Spokesperson Ryan Bird says the ban on cellphones follows consultations with parents and staff who raised concerns about the devices becoming a “major distraction.”
The restriction will require students to keep their cellphones in their lockers unless otherwise instructed by a teacher. It goes on to specifically prohibit texting, photo taking and social media use over the school’s lunch hour – though Bird says this rule has been in place since September.
“There was some inappropriate use, people were texting during class and they were becoming a larger distraction than before,” Bird told CP24 on Friday morning. “This should reduce the major distraction that is has become within the classroom.”
Bird says there are instances where teaching staff may want students to use their devices for specific lessons.
“At the same time, it’s important to note that during lessons or classes where cell phones may be helpful – for research for example – students may be permitted to get their phones from their lockers, although that is dependent on individual lessons,” he said.
If a student is spotted using a cellphone in a classroom or hallway, Bird said teachers have permission to confiscate it.
Though Bird doesn’t think the ban will trickle into other schools, he noted that any decision on technology in classrooms is left to the individual schools and sometimes individual classrooms.
He added that this may be the first ban on cellphones in classrooms and hallways for the TDSB.
“The school is also taking an educational approach to the new guidelines by having a speaker come in next month to speak with students and parents about the appropriate use of technology and online safety,” he said.