Ontario's ban on cellphones in classrooms begins today

Nov 4 2019, 7:12 am

The  Ford government’s plan to restrict the use of cellphones comes into effect in classrooms across the province today.

According to the Province of Ontario, cellphones and other personal mobile devices will be banned in classrooms beginning November 4, 2019.

The restriction applies to “instructional time at school, however, exceptions will be made if cellphones are required for health and medical purposes, to support special education needs, or for educational purposes as directed by an educator.”

During the consultation on education reform that took place last fall, a reported 97% of parents, students, and teachers who participated said that cellphone use should be restricted in some way.

“When in class, students should be focused on their studies, not their social media,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “That’s why we are restricting cellphones and other personal mobile devices in the classroom, while making sure technology is available to help students achieve success in the digital economy and modern workforce.”

Banning cellphones from classrooms is not a new idea, and schools in Toronto have implemented the policy over the past few years.

“At the TDSB, we encourage the use of technology in the classroom, but for educational purposes only,” Ryan Bird, Manager of Corporate and Social Media Relations at the Toronto District School Board, told Daily Hive.

“Recent changes to the Board Code of Conduct to address the direction of the Ministry of Education with regards cellphones essentially formalizes what schools in the TDSB have already been doing — using cellphones where appropriate to the lesson or topic at hand.”

In 2017, Earl Grey Senior Public School, which is located near Greenwood and Coxwell in Toronto’s east end, banned cellphones in its classrooms, jumping ahead of the curb on this new rule.