School boards struggling with how to implement cellphone restrictions, association president says

With phone restrictions coming into place in some school divisions and provinces across the country, Manitoba educators are looking at how and what to implement.

The province told 680 CJOB consultations with stakeholders are still ongoing, and the Manitoba Teachers’ Society says it’s waiting on education minister Nello Altomare’s consultations, which began in October of last year.

Stonewall, Man.’s Alan Campbell, president of the Canadian School Boards Association, says the way these policies have rolled out nationwide look different from division to division.

“There’s leeway for school divisions to go ahead and adopt different policies in this already, and then execute as best they can,” Campbell told 680 CJOB’s Connecting Winnipeg.

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“I’m aware that in some school divisions, it might even differ from high school to high school, for example.”

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Campbell said it’s important for parents to get on board with any changes that get introduced, as educators are seeing more and more struggles — from younger and younger students.

Students in elementary schools are often showing up to class without sleep because they’ve been up all night glued to technology — so bans will only go so far, he said.

“There’s a larger societal conversation that needs to happen and parents need to get on board with this across the table in order to make some meaningful change and start to minimize some of these risks. Some as young as eight or nine or 10 are going to school having not slept because they’ve had complete unlimited access to their smartphones overnight.”

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