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Student on cellphone

Cellphones have transformed our public discourse, and though their advent has in many ways benefited our daily workflow and social interactions, we all know the negativity that surrounds these devices as well.  

Many argue that cellphones, especially among teenagers, have stunted the way we interact with one another. One Montreal high school decided to take action to abate this threat.

St. Thomas High School located in Montreal’s West Island has officially restricted the use of cellphones on school grounds this year.

This means that when they enter the building, students must turn their phones off and store them in lockers until the end of the school day, according to the Montreal Gazette.

If students do not respect this new rule, administrators have the power to confiscate their devices.

Since the school unveiled this policy at the beginning of the week, it has stirred quite the debate among Montrealers.

Many have taken to Facebook to share their opinions. The following discussions took place in the comments section of a CBC News post about the new ban at St. Thomas. 

People clearly have strong, mixed feelings about the ban.

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While some argue that cellphones are necessary in emergency situations, others are of the opinion that electronics should never be permitted in school.

Some people also make the good point that cellphones can serve an educational purpose. Indeed, many student use their phones to access school resources and email. Students even rely on their phones to fill the role of a calculator or dictionary.

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Phones can also be a lifeline in cases of bullying. 

Even more troublingly, many people used the scenario of a school schooting to explain why it's important for students to be able to carry their phones.

The most common argument in favour of the ban focuses on the potentially isolating effects of frequent cellphone use.

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Some people feel like this is necessary and that it will allow kids to both focus on school as well as form real relationships with their peers, while others worry that this will backfire.

I reached out to Tara Moussalem who had written a comment on Facebook. She let me know her feelings regarding this new regulation: “I am aligned with the BAN and feel it should be applied to all schools — they are a distraction and are impeding on their education, I think if parents are concerned it should be no phones in classroom at the minimum left at the front."

What do you think Montreal? Do you think that this is a good idea? Do you think that other schools around Montreal should participate in this regulation? Let us know what you think about this cellphone ban on school grounds.

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