Public School Bans Cell Phones To Increase Students’ Focus

Public schools in Western Australia are about to implement a technology ban during school hours.

Applying to phones, tablets, headphones, and smart watches, the new rule will forbid the use of these gadgets from the first class of the day to the last. It will also be enforced during lunch and recess.

"We want to create the best possible learning environment for WA kids," said official Mark McGowan to SBS, "and our policy will allow students to focus on their school work without the distraction of a mobile phone."

He said that the ban is in response to growing concerns from parents and teachers about the use of smartphones in class. Not only do they cause constant distractions in the form of texts, calls, and social media alerts, but they also exacerbate issues like cyberb*ullying.

"While it is recognized that cyberb*ullying mainly occurs outside school time, banning the use of mobile phones will reduce external issues being brought into a school via technology," McGowan explained in Education HQ.

Exceptions will be made for disabled students who need assistive technology as a learning aid. Students will also be allowed to use their gadgets to monitor their health conditions. They just have to clear it with the school administrators first.

There will be different levels of the ban depending on the grade. Younger students from K - 6 will be on total lockdown; they'll need to store their phones in their lockers or just leave them at home. Older students from 7 - 12 will be allowed to carry their phones on their person, but the devices will have to be switched off and put away at all times.

Supporters of the ban say that it's already been tested in some WA schools, and it's created remarkable change in the way that students socialize and communicate with each other.

"Students are talking to each other face-to-face rather than texting, and they're not distracted from their work during class," said Sue Ellery, the Education and Training Minister to Education Matters Magazine. "Overall, those schools are much happier and connected places."

Detractors say that the ban will only encourage students to get sneakier in the way that they use cellphones.

Like it or not, however, the new rule will go into effect in 2020.

What do you think? Should cellphones be forbidden in schools? Do you agree with the specific terms and exceptions laid out in Australia's new policy, or do you think that they've forgotten anything? Sound off in the comments!

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