Nova Scotia has no plans to ban cellphones in the classroom

By Jessie Weisner

According to The Canadian Press, the provincial government is planning to announce this week its intention to ban cellphones from Ontario classrooms.

While there are some limited cases in the province of phones being banned in classrooms, the new directive extends to all schools in the province.

NDP MPP Ian Arthur said his party supports the idea in general but teachers and school boards now have the power to ban cellphones.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) abandoned a cellphone ban policy back in 2011 after officials determined that it was next to impossible to enforce.

"By banning cellphone use that distracts from learning, we are helping students to focus on acquiring the foundational skills they need like reading, writing and math", she said. 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.

Alberta Education Minister David Eggan said the province will leave it up to teachers and school boards to make their own decisions.

"Beginning next school year, cellphones will no longer be allowed in the classroom unless they are required for educational purposes, health, and medical purposes, or to support special needs", says Thompson.

Starting in September, Ontario students will still be able to bring cellphones to school, but won't be allowed to take them out in class.

"I think we really need to think progressively about this and say, 'OK, this technology is here, it's real".

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

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.

"It was the closest thing we got in our consultation to unanimity", one source said.

However, surveys conducted by the Conservative government found that 97 percent of respondents favored a cellphone ban. The improvements were largely seen among the students who were normally the lowest achieving.