Pressure mounts on Catholic schools to ban mobile phones

Individual Catholic schools determine their own policies related to the use of mobile phones (Bigstock)

Pressure is mounting on Catholic and independent schools to ban mobile phones following Victoria's decision to outlaw the devices in public schools. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan is calling on Catholic and independent schools, as well as other states and territories, to ban the devices and will put the issue on the agenda at Friday's education council meeting.

“When I talk to parents and teachers the overwhelming majority want action on banning mobile phones in the classroom,” he said.

“I urge all states and territories and non-government schools to follow Victoria’s lead and ban mobile phones.”

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino, who on Tuesday unveiled one of the world’s toughest policies on phone use in schools, said he’d already been contacted by parents at Catholic schools who wanted a similar ban at their schools.

“I think Catholic and independent systems will look very closely at this policy,” he said.

Under strict new rules that come into effect from term 1 in 2020, state primary and secondary school students will be prohibited from using a mobile phone between the first and last school bell. They must turn off their phones and keep them in their locker, even during recess and lunch.

The Independent Education Union, which represents teachers working in non-government schools, is calling on Catholic and independent schools to consider adopting the same policy.

Deb James, the union’s general secretary for Victoria and Tasmania, said: “A number of our members would be very supportive of bans or limitations. Teachers talk about students being distracted in class and are concerned about kids who are addicted to screens.”

But Catholic Education Melbourne active executive director Jim Miles said there were no plans to review the use of mobile phones across the Catholic sector.

“Policies related to the use of mobile phones are determined by each Catholic school individually,” he said.

While state and federal governments have no power to ban phones in non-government schools, many schools in the Catholic and independent sectors have already introduced their own bans.

FULL STORY

Pressure mounts on private schools to ban mobile phones (Sydney Morning Herald

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