Area School Goes Through with Cell Phone Ban
Written by John Freer on September 13, 2023
By John Freer
A total ban on cell phone usage is being applied to all Mercury Bay Area School students from the start of the next term.
This follows work across the school during the current term enabling the implementation of the ban.
Principal Ross Dunn has advised all school families of the decision which he says has the support of staff and the Board of Trustees. He acknowledged the move being a significant change for students.
The school community has been advised that the decision to remove cell phones from the school is in response to a growing body of national and international evidence around the harm they are potentially causing young people.
In a letter to parents, Ross said cell phones were a constant distraction in class and increasingly, they were also the tool of anti-social behaviour, including cyberbullying, fighting, theft, non-consented videoing and sending of images, and increased negative interactions during the school day.
“Teachers are having to repeatedly challenge students who are on their phones during class time, and phones with data allow a disturbing level of unfettered access to all aspects of the internet, including inappropriate and disturbing material.
“This has not been a quick decision and has been based on both external evidence as well as feedback from the wider school community. The only real concern whānau listed for wanting their child to have a mobile phone, was being able to contact their child(ren) during the school day.”
Steps are being put in place to ensure family contact remains available during school hours.