Kingston residents, students react to cellphone ban in Ontario schools

Kingston students react to pending cellphone ban in schools
A number of students are unsure about a ban on cell phones said to be coming in September. The Ontario government plans to ban the device, citing it's a distraction to students in the classroom.

As the Ontario government is looking at banning cellphones in schools, some people are on the fence about whether or not an outright ban is the way to go.

The Ford government plans to ban the devices as of next school year in classrooms across the province.

READ MORE: Ontario to ban cellphones from classrooms next year

In a statement, Education Minister Lisa Thompson says, “Ontario’s students need to be able to focus on their learning — not their cellphones.”

But some students question how such a ban would look.

“It could be a good thing, but also a bad thing,” says grade 9 student Laura Newman. “There are a lot of positive things you can use cell phones for at school to do work and stuff.”

Story continues below advertisement

“I think it’s kind of dumb to ban them,” says another student, Nate Condie. “Why ban a piece of technology? It’s there to be used.”

The ban comes on the heels of a public consultation conducted last year. Results found that 97 per cent of respondents wanted some sort of control over cellphone use in class. There would be some exceptions to the rule, however, including when teachers want to use phones as part of their lesson, if there is a medical issue and students with special needs.

WATCH: PC MPP Stephen Lecce speaks about cellphone ban

Cell phones to be banned in Ontario classrooms
Cell phones to be banned in Ontario classrooms

Although the mandate is seen as heavy-handed by some students, Jennifer Kehoe, a parent of three kids, believes the restriction is needed.

“I think that it’s time for the government to take back the power and give it back to the teachers inside the classroom,” says Kehoe.

Story continues below advertisement

The mother, who has two children in elementary school, says that although we live in a world that relies on technology, there’s a time and a place for cellphones.

“There are still fundamentals that teachers aren’t able to perform their daily tasks of teaching [to] children because there are so many distractions in the classrooms,” Kehoe says.

READ MORE: Conor McGregor arrested after stealing cellphone from someone trying to take a photo of him: police

A number of schools already have similar policies in place, including Limestone District School Board in Kingston. But a provincial ban would mean the government would issue the directive to schools for the 2019-20 school year.

It’s not clear exactly how the directive would look, but the government will leave it up to school boards in how they enforce a ban in their schools.