A Langford high school has formally banned cellphone use during class time for the newly started school year.
Belmont Secondary School students will only be allowed to use their personal phones outside of instructional time, such as in between classes and during the lunch break under the policy, which standardizes a more informal policy that many of the schools classrooms had already been following.
“The guidelines are simply a consistent and formalized approach to the use of cellphones during school hours,” principal Laura Fulton wrote in a statement. “Consistent language regarding expectations is also good pedagogical practice. The cell phone guidelines are meant to set students up for success by helping them focus on the learning happening during instructional time without the distraction of personal devices.”
Fulton said the policy also allows teachers to schedule “technology breaks” when students are allowed to use their personal devices in the classroom, or to allow their use for educational purposes.
Emergency communication between parents and students during class time is still possible, she noted, however it will have to go through the school office. Exceptional circumstances will also be worked out between the school, students, and families as needed.
The new policy brings the school in line with several other schools in Sooke School District 62, including Royal Bay Secondary School, Edward Milne Community School and the district’s middle schools, the statement noted.
The policy comes as debate over the use of phones in class has been renewed by the Province of Quebec’s decision this school year to ban the devices in most teaching environments in public schools across the province.
In B.C., Education Minister Rachna Singh told reporters Tuesday (Sept. 5) that her department won’t be following Quebec’s lead, but the decision ultimately falls to each individual teacher or school.