Ontario to Ban the Use of Cell Phones in Classrooms this November
Public Relations Officer
Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada
The Ontario Ministry of Education announced a new regulation to be enacted on November 4, 2019, regarding the restriction of personal mobile devices, including cell phones.
An updated Provincial Code of Conduct requires students to respect the need of others to work in an environment that is contributive to both learning and teaching by restricting the use of cellphones and other personal mobile times during periods of instruction.
As stated by the Ontario Ministry of Education, students are permitted to bring personal mobile devices to school but usage will be restricted during instructional time. Cell Phones may only be used in the classroom for health or medical related causes, to assist special education needs or for educational use as directed by educators. However, students will be able to use such devices during recess and lunch periods.
The new policy was put in force in accordance to consultations during the fall of 2018, where 97 percent of parent, student and teacher respondents advocated for the restriction of cellphones during instructional time. Although some schools already have similar policies in effect, the ruling establishes a provincial standard. The approach taken to impose the ban is at the discretion of the individual boards and schools.
The Toronto District School Board previously introduced a classroom cell phone ban in 2007, but repealed the directive in 2011. In a prior statement, the board disclosed that inflicting a ban was infeasible and that doing so limited educational opportunities as well.
Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education, stated in a news release that while restrictions will be placed on the use of cellphones in class to eliminate distractions, technology will still be made available to guide students success in the digital economy and modern workforce.
The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) holds the opinion that cellphones are a valuable aspect of student learning and discourages all actions that hinder the process of students gaining a practical and equitable education.