Students at Selkirk Secondary School will no longer be able to have their cell phones on them during class time after a new policy change came into effect this week.
Principal Clint Dolgopol explained in a letter to parents and guardians that students will now be expected to leave their cell phones in their lockers during class time, including drink and washroom breaks during classes.
“The only exception to this would be if the teacher is doing a class wide activity that required phones and asked students to bring them,” wrote Dolgopol. “Students will continue to be allowed to use their phones outside of class time (breaks and lunch).”
He says that the reason for this change to the school’s Code of Conduct is because of the “ongoing challenges [cell phones] continue to present to learning environments”.
“Like many schools, our former policy was that students could use their cell phones only with the permission of the teacher first and only for learning purposes,” he explained. “We felt that it was important to teach responsible use of phones and that on occasion they could be used to enhance the learning environment.”
However, Dolgopol says, the school found that despite having their previous rule in place, the misuse of phones in a classroom setting was a significant distraction to learning.
In the letter sent to parents and guardians, they are asked to reinforce this message with their children.
“The consequence for cell phone infractions will remain the same,” said Dolgopol. “The teacher may ask the student to put it away or may ask for it to be taken to the office where it gets stored in our vault until the end of the day. If the issue becomes chronic, parents/guardians will be asked to pick up the phone and we may ask that your child no longer brings the phone to school.”
Selkirk reviewed the new policy this week with students as they returned back to school.