Cell phone ban in school

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Cell phone ban in school



The Toronto District School Board has banned cell phone usage on school property, whether inside or outside of class.

[url=http://www.thestar.com/News/article/204911]I predict that this will be like herding cats.[/url] But I do support the measure. What do you think?


Students at Toronto public schools won't be allowed to use their cellphones in classrooms and hallways under a new board-wide policy approved last night.

Toronto District School Board trustees voted overwhelmingly to force students to turn off cellphones, BlackBerries and other personal communication devices during the school day.

The policy comes into effect later this month as the board informs each school.

Currently there is no system-wide policy governing the use of cellphones, leaving each school to make its own rules.

Officials have for months contemplated a board-wide cell ban in their 560 public schools.

Plagued by students filming fights on their phones, trying to cheat using the Internet on their phone, playing games in class, summoning spectators to schoolyard brawls and leaving class to take a call, North American schools are grappling with managing this technology.

Trustee Josh Matlow (Ward 11, St. Paul's) proposed the motion, arguing cellphones are interrupting classes and distracting students.

"This is a no-brainer folks. Just ask your local teacher," he said. "They're going off in classes ... students are texting back and forth."

The plan would require students to store their phones out of sight during the school day.

"As one of my principals says, there's no cell after the bell,'' said trustee Gerri Gershon (Ward 13, Don Valley West)

Matlow called the plan balanced, noting it wasn't as severe as that of some U.S. jurisdictions with outright bans.

The trustee acknowledged some people wouldn't like the restrictions.

"Some parents will say it's their right to contact their child 24/7," he said.

Parents argue their busy schedules make cells a logistical convenience, especially for single mothers juggling work and home responsibilities.

Oh please! Think of all those poor single mothers! Give me a break. Well, as a single mother, I think my son and I will survive our separation during the day quite fine without a freakin' cell phone once he's in high school.

Golly, how did my single father ever, ever cope when I was in high school and there WERE no cell phones?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm feeling old after reading that kids have cell phones, blackberries, and other communications devices as early as primary (public) school. Why, back in my day, I'd guess 1959, the most sophisicated piece of high technology I took to school with me was a small transistor radio (with cord and earphone) that I used to listen to the baseball games in the afternoon during recess and on the way home after school. I think these new-fangled devices are toys for the most part, and shouldn't be allowed. Let the parents call the school office to pass a message on to the kid what time they will picked up after school, if necessary.


I whole hardly support this ban. Can't wait for universities to adopt it, although it is humorous when a phone goes off in the middle of a class I'm teaching... [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]


Clearly this is part of the Pro-bee Agenda.

What you're not seeing is that clearly TDSB has put Bee's Rights before children. The board is stacked with Honey-Hungry Youth haters.
[url=http://www.thedenverchannel.com/irresistible/12138730/detail.html]A German study shows that radiation from cell phones can disrupt bees' navigation systems. That keeps the bees from returning to their hives.[/url]

The schoolboard has clearly decided that the right to bear bees is more important than creating a safe learning environment and have gone to the extra step of making the halls of our schools Bee-friendly. But of course, as soon as there's a stinging incident the NBA (The National Bee Association, not to be confused with the Basketball people) will hold rallys around those schools pointing out that it's not Bee's that sting people, well...actully it IS bee's who sting people, but they still have their rights.

Yeah, we're onto you TDSBee.

Polly B Polly B's picture

You know, once I make them get dressed, find their coats, pack their lunches, organize their homework, look after their pets, comb their hair, brush their teeth, get their agendas signed, and get out to the bus, I am pretty happy NOT to be able to talk to them for a few hours.

I hate cell phones.

Le T Le T's picture


The group also wants school boards to think about what to do about cellphones during lockdowns, where students could text-message inaccurate information to relatives or even tip off someone wanted by police.

Did anyone else find this passage a little weird?

Dana Larsen

I understand why schools would want to do this.

And clearly kids shouldn't be talking on their phones or playing video games during class.

But this will be hard to enforce, especially as the technology gets smaller and smaller to where cameras and microphnes are virtually undetectable.

The school might do better to try using cell-phone blocking technology, but that also presents health and safety concerns too.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Latest Globe poll (link on front page):

Do you agree with the Toronto District School Board's decision to ban cellphones from school classrooms and hallways?

Yes (93%) 4377 votes
No (7%) 354 votes

[ 20 April 2007: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]



Originally posted by Dana Larsen:
The school might do better to try using cell-phone blocking technology, but that also presents health and safety concerns too.[/b]

Maybe they should move back to lead based paints for the schools, that would block some of the signals. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]


The average child has no need of a cellphone at school.

Sven Sven's picture


Originally posted by Boom Boom:
[b]I think these new-fangled devices are toys for the most part, and shouldn't be allowed.[/b]

You know, that's about right. They are little more than toys when used at school. Good description, Boom Boom.

Vansterdam Kid


Originally posted by Caissa:
I whole hardly support this ban. Can't wait for universities to adopt it, although it is humorous when a phone goes off in the middle of a class I'm teaching... [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

This is kind of what makes this cellphone ban a little dumb. Yeah, kids shouldn't be using cellphones in school - and if they're in a class then yeah the teacher should be able to confiscate the phone for a limited period of time if they won't turn them off. But who cares if they have them on during recess or lunch? Does this policy cover that? Or is it the entire school day?

The thing is that kids aren't the only ones to blame for being rude. Adults shouldn't have them on in movie theatres, or during concerts, or in hospitals, or in a University class. Then again, since we're talking about kids here, we can take the phones away right? But for us adults (yes, I'm a big boy now) that would be infringing our rights and freedoms - not to mention how infantile that would be. It just seems really arbitrary and dumb, like whenever X or Y fad comes along the school administrators decide that they need to "ban it." The real problem is that parents aren't teaching their children proper manners. Then again half of all adults don't have proper cell phone etiquette either.


Originally posted by quelar: Maybe they should move back to lead based paints for the schools, that would block some of the signals. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Hmm, I think your onto something. Maybe if we put Asbestos back in schools this problem would go away. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]


Originally posted by Le Tйlйspectateur: Did anyone else find this passage a little weird?

Yes. It's a little what are the proper words - paranoid and disjointed?

[ 20 April 2007: Message edited by: Vansterdam Kid ]

Gir Draxon

Especially now that video phones are becoming more common, this presents a significant danger. Has anyone here ever had a teacher who was liable to explode? To yell and scream at his or her students?

Now imagine that teacher's behaviour gets caught on a video phone.

I'm sure the school would be very interested in confiscating that phone, even if the student turns it off and puts it away afterwards.

Do most high school students have a use for a cell phone most of the time? No, but that's not the point. I don't think kids should have cell phones, but I also think that is an issue for parents to deal with - not the school. And I certainly don't want to give schools the power to confiscate student property, especially in situations like the one I mentioned above.

Le T Le T's picture

You probably wouldn't like schools much then Gir. Students at schools are subject to random searches of their person, their bags, their lockers and their belongings and can have anything confiscated.

In fact, the law in Ontario gives schools the same authority over a student under 18 y.o.a that a parent has. So technically a teacher can spank a student with an open hand but not on the face.

The article also talks about "lock-downs" I have no idea what that means but it sounds a bit like when I was in highschool and they would lock us all in our classrooms while police dogs searched all of our lockers for pot.

Schools are pretty much prisons for young people but with finger-paintings up on the wall.


I guess I'm old fashion, but why do students need cell phones? I'm 23, and just decided it was time to get one, and I struggled with that choice for a long time! I don't want to be connected to the world 24/7! Isn't a simple answer? Students can have cell phones in their pockets, or in their bags, but put them on silent, or turn them off, and don't check them until you're off school property. Then if there is a LOCKDOWN, it's accessible, or if you do need to get a hold of your "single mother," you eventually can! It seems like me it's just a respect issue. If you're in a classroom, or a cafeteria, where other people don't want to hear your annoying ring tone, turn off your phone.

But I better stop, before I get into a rant about people using cell phones in restaurants, or the workplace...or a million other places! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]


A couple of people have sort of hit the real issue on it's head. It's not a matter of the school caring if the students have phones or not, because they have no right. The issue is about respect, and respect of the teachers and the lessons being taught.

But overall, this is a PARENTAL issue as the old farts are just as likely to be rude, insensitive and annoying to all those around them, and be a terrible example to their kids when it comes to cell phones.

I think we need an agressive campaign of cell phone etiquitte, and if that fails, start enforcing cell free areas for everyone.


If there is an area where I am a conservative, it is eduction. I think schools and their role should be a lot more defined, and focused on learning. But I'm not sure if a cell phone ban will accomplish much. I just think we're going to have to learn that we are living in an interconnected age. I mean, there are already bluetooths out there. what's the next step up the techno-chain going to be? Something harder to stop, I think.

I dunno. Kinda rambling here.


I lump this in with most of the laws that people are trying to past about regulating the internet or other technology. People not understanding or getting progress.

People (older most of the time) are always leery of technology. My mother in law can't understand why our computer is in the living room. She can't understand that to us a computer and the internet are more central to our life than a TV. But her mother would always bug her about having a TV in the main living room and not in the family room or something.

Just because people don't like/want a cell phone doesn't mean that cell phones are bad. Cell phoned can be annoying, but so can a lot of things. It doesn't mean they should be banned.

Students should not be aloud to use cell phones in class. That goes without saying. If a cell phone rings or beeps in class, the student should get in trouble. I'll make allowances for rules in the hall ways, a few (hall ways aren't quiet places to start with) However outside who cares if someone is talking on a cell phone.

Progress marches on. Kids have cell phones, get over it. People are getting more and more connected and there is nothing wrong with that. It's like the stink over MySpace and Facebook. Just because you don't understand why people use them doesn't make it wrong.


Here in NZ they are often confiscated for a few hours if seen in class, although several teachers give warnings, or allow them to be used as calculators if needed in a non mathmatics subject. I think if they are being used to film something bad, we need to control the bad behaviour first as thats the real problem, and talk to students about the voygerism issue later.


If it is an emergency and parents need to reach their children then they can just phone the office and get them pulled from class. If it is not that much of an emergency then they can phone the child's turned off cellphone and leave a voice message.

Cell phones were banned in the high school my son went to years ago. The rule was they were not allowed anywhere on school property. They originally banned them prior to the camera features and text features being so prevalent because at first it was mostly the dealers in school who were using them and it was an anti drug rule.

No one would argue that it is alright to have Gameboy in class or pass notes back and forth. Cellphones in class make no sense unless you are a student who wants to waste time like I am now.

I noticed in Ajax when I was visiting that in the dressing rooms of a pool cellphones and cameras of all types were banned, presumably to prevent perverts from taking pictures.

Polly B Polly B's picture

Cellphones were banned in my son's school after one student took some naked locker room pictures and passed them around to her buddies.

They shouldn't be allowed at school.

TemporalHominid TemporalHominid's picture


Originally posted by Polly Brandybuck:
[b]Cellphones were banned in my son's school after one student took some naked locker room pictures and passed them around to her buddies.

They shouldn't be allowed at school.[/b]

in all fairness to all young people, this sounds like an isolated case... Millions of kids have cell phones that can capture images but don't use them to take pictures of classmates in locker rooms. There must have been a lot of other circumstances that brought the banning in this school.
I can't imagine a school district releasing information to the public that cell phones were banned because of one student's conduct.

When students are thought to be drunk or high on campus, the schools and School Districts do not advertise the alleged actions of individuals, and they don't advertise that someone was caught in the possession of controlled substances or investigated for assault.

[ 28 April 2007: Message edited by: TemporalHominid ]


News travels through the grapevine in schools. If an incident like that were to happen at any high school, ALL the kids would know about it, because word would get around that naked pictures of so-and-so were on the internet that were taken in the change room. It would have created a gigantic buzz in my high school, and everyone would have known. And if, after this made a huge buzz and caught the attention of parents and teachers and kids, suddenly picture-taking devices were banned from changerooms, I think most high-school kids would be able to put two and two together and figure out what inspired the rule.


Cell phones should be banned from school though I don't agree with the 'on all school property part of it'. Outside should be fine.
Cellphone etiquette is a parent issue but when the kids are in class it's a teacher problem.

Polly B Polly B's picture


Originally posted by TemporalHominid:

There must have been a lot of other circumstances that brought the banning in this school.
I can't imagine a school district releasing information to the public that cell phones were banned because of one student's conduct.

[ 28 April 2007: Message edited by: TemporalHominid ][/b]

Actually, no. The one incident was enough.

And the school district did not "release the information" - it was more along the lines of please be aware that the new policy on cell phones will be as follows...yada yada. However, since I have kids in that school, and since I know the kids involved in the original picture taking incident, I know why the decision was made. So do all the students and most of the parents. It's not a real big town.


It's all about controlling kids. "They're getting out of control, what can we do about it." We always start from the assumption that if adults don't like what kids are doing it must be the kids who are wrong. We never consider that kids rebel against inhuman systems for good reason. That's the whole point of institutionalizing youth, so that teachers (and parents) can mould them into proper citizens, so by the time they get out they don't question that they're peons with no rights and the authority of the boss, university prof or police officer isn't up for debate. Does anyone even ask the question: what gives the school the right to ban cell phones?

Cameras on phones are a great thing. It means that anything you do in public could be caught on film. Do you have any idea how often teachers do things in class that they would rather not have parents or their bosses watch?

And you'll never see it happen in universities, because the students just wouldn't put up with it. University profs should have to deal with ringing cell phones more often, to snap them out of their self-aggrandizement.