Lakehead ETFO president calls cellphone ban a positive change

By Katie Nicholls
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

THUNDER BAY — Come the start of the new school year, students will not be allowed to have their phones out in classrooms. 

New rules were recently announced by Minister Stephen Lecce on cellphone use in schools for across the province. 

Students will be required to have their phones on silent and out of sight during school hours. 

Dave Paddington, president of the Lakehead Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, called the change a positive one. 

“In many regards, it doesn’t come without its challenges. We’re going to have to be very vigilant in classrooms and with administration and trying to appropriately supervise and police this situation, which is going to cause additional issues for teachers in classrooms.

“I think for years, teachers have been moderately trying to enforce it or having windows of time when there are no cell phones [in classrooms].”

He said that currently, phones are confiscated on a case-by-case basis at schools. 

“It’s going to cause some strife, absolutely, in classrooms because it’s going to cause conflict between staff, students, and families.

“Our hope would be that families would be on board.”

The province-wide ban will be in effect starting in September for every public school in the province. 

The ban will be in place for the entirety of the school day for kids in kindergarten to Grade 6.

Students in Grade 7 and above will be allowed to use their phones between classes or on breaks.