The Situation Room – Banning phones from the classroom? Good luck enforcing it!

Mac Olsen
So, a Toronto middle school has decided to impose a ban of cellphone use during class time – what a laugh!

As per a CTV News report, last week, Earl Grey Senior Public School put the ban in place, forcing students to leave their phones in lockers during and between classes.

At lunch, they will be allowed to have their phones in their possession but aren’t allowed to access social media or texting, nor are they allowed to take/view photos or create videos.

The CTV News report also says that the school introduced the rule to help students focus in class, instead being tempted to check their devices.
Further, the Toronto District School Board said the ban comes after requests from some parents and careful consultation with teachers.

I’m sure many students at Earl Grey Senior Public School will grudgingly comply with the ban. But don’t expect all of them to.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised but some of them will have their phones in class, and when the teacher or supervisor isn’t in their classroom, out will come the phones.

Moreover, I hope that there will be a backlash against this draconian measure. This is simply another example of the Nanny State forcing itself unto the fearful, compliant sheep, to keep them in line.

It’s a universal punishment for all students, rather than making it specific to repeat offenders. How is that fair and just?

It’s a measure that has no place in the digital age, especially for a generation of youth that have grown up with smartphones, tablets, social media and the like.

Wherever I go, including schools, I see students with their phones in hand. They do what we adults do – give attention to our devices because it’s an ingrained habit.

It’s not that I want the students to be disruptive or inattentive during instruction time. Not in the least.

But instead of this draconian approach that Earl Grey Senior Public School has imposed, I would suggest a better course of action, one that would probably make most students more compliant.

At the beginning of the school year, teachers, parents and students should sit down and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of cellphone usage in settings like the classroom.

Also, encourage and insist that the students put their phone in silent or “buzz” mode. I expect such a procedure from others when I attend public meetings where there are speakers. And I get irritated if I hear a phone going off.

Of course, there will still be students who can’t keep their phone usage under control during class time and seizure is appropriate with them.

Making a cellphone a forbidden fruit in the classroom is not the answer. Imposing a universal, one-size-fits-all Nanny State regulation is unfair to all, for the actions and irresponsibility of a few.

I hope the Earl Grey Senior Public School rescinds this unnecessary ban and will be more fair with its students.

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