Vancouver parent concerned with province restricting cellphones in classroom

On Friday, B.C. Premier David Eby announced by this September school districts will need to restrict cellphone use in the classroom. But not everyone is happy with the province’s decision.

One parent is speaking up after the province announced it would be cracking down on cellphone use in classrooms.

On Friday, B.C. Premier David Eby announced that school districts across the province will need to restrict cellphone use in the classroom by September. Eby said the devices are a distraction, with students watching online videos and other content, and also because they can be used negatively as a tool that encourages behaviour such as bullying and sexual extortion.

“The impact and influence of all these factors is bigger than any individual family can deal with on their own,” Eby said. “Parents cannot protect their kids without support.”

But not everyone is happy with the province’s decision to ban cellphones in classrooms. Kyenta Martins, the chair of Vancouver’s District’s Parent Advisory Council, says many schools count on students having tech available in the classroom.

“We have real concern about how this will roll out in schools and what it will put onto the staff of schools, administration, and teachers,” Martins said.

“Its going to be a large disparity in the tools they will have available to them. If you’re going to remove that tool, you have to provide a new tool.”

Martins says she recognizes the concerns about bullying and sexual extortion. But she says they are also used as a tool.

“They are used as resource material- for research, they’re used to check in with teachers and staff during free periods, – and not providing a supplement for that — not providing funding to support the removal of this tool — shows a lack or recognition.”

Eby says how cellphones will be restricted is up to each school district.

“Whether a school wants to have pouches or lockers, or whether they want to have teachers just enforce that the phones don’t come out of students’ bags while they’re in school time, we’ll leave that up to the teachers and the school boards,” he said.

But Martins points out that this puts the onus on teachers and administrative staff at schools.

“I’m not sure that is something that needs be to added to their plate,” she said.

“This is a reaction to misuse of technology and in my mind as a parent, it would be better to teach our children how to use that technology well than just taking it away.”

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