Toronto District School Board acknowledges reality and allows young folk to bring cellphones to school

Toronto District School Board acknowledges reality and allows young folk to bring cellphones to school

Students can bring their mobile phones to school, with or without a cute quilted cover (Image: Wednesday Elf - Mountainside Crochet)

We’ll wager that this is going to make the deliberations about advertising on screens in schools a bit harder: on Thursday the TDSB relaxed its restrictions on cellphones. Come September, students will be allowed to use cellphones and other personal electronic devices in school hallways, though it will be up to individual teachers to decide whether phones can be brought into the classrooms themselves. Just yesterday we were saying we wanted to the city take a more laid-back approach to its rules, so we heartily approve of the board’s decision.

CBC has the story:

Early Thursday, the school board voted to lift the four-year-old ban; however, it will remain in effect for the remainder of the current school year.

The ban was implemented in 2007 after trustees voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to ban cellphones once students enter a school building. At the time it was argued the devices caused disruptions in class, distracted students and allowed them to cheat by accessing the Internet on their phones.

A pair of TDSB student trustees argued that technology has become such a pervasive part of student life that it no longer makes sense to ban electronic devices in the place where students spend most of their day.

Frankly, we think the kids are all right. Of course, we don’t expect the policy to be problem free—but then nothing ever is, especially when it comes to teenagers (or so we’re told). The ban on mobile phones is especially hard to defend, given that the school board implicitly understands how valuable mobile computing is (check out this story on OpenFile about one school is now making laptops mandatory in school, and even paying for them). Modern cellphones are basically small, low-power computers, so it’s hard for the TDSB to have it both ways. Kudos to the board for surrendering to reality without having to be dragged there kicking and screaming.

Student cellphone ban to be lifted in Toronto [CBC]
George Harvey Collegiate to give each student a laptop [OpenFile]