Mobile phone ban could hit the right tone

A new policy aimed at stopping secondary school pupils in the Western isles from using their mobile phones during the school day, has been backed by local councillors.

Members of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee supported the new plan at the committee’s meeting on Tuesday, and the policy will now go out for consultation.

A report before the meeting said that while mobile phones and social media provide ‘a positive resource to pupils, parents, staff and the Comhairle, ‘unfortunately, the inappropriate use, particularly of mobile phones, can have a significant negative impact in schools when not managed responsibly’.

Mobile phones have, the report stated, been increasingly linked to incidents of ‘bullying, sexting and inappropriate filming of pupils and staff’, and this use had caused ‘significant distress to young people and staff with possible long term social and emotional consequences’.

Under the policy, pupils will not be permitted to have their phones ‘on their person’ in class time or to use their phones between classes.

The report did acknowledge that some pupils, for specific health and safety reasons, would require to be in contact with parents at key times, and this will be permitted. e.g. break and lunch. As before, they can communicate in this fashion.

But, parents needing to communicate with children during class time will have to go through the school office, and likewise for children wanting to contact their parents.

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