Quebec Education Minister clarifies directive on banning cell phones in classrooms

By The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Schools will have to take steps to ban cellphones in all classrooms by the end of 2023. Quebec Education Minister Bernard Drainville clarified his directive to the school network on Wednesday.

In his directive, which was adopted by Cabinet, Drainville requires school service centers to enforce a ban on the use of cell phones, headsets and other personal mobile devices by students on school premises.

Exceptions are made when these devices are required for pedagogical purposes by the teacher, because of a student’s medical condition, or for the special needs of a disabled student or a student with social maladjustments or learning disabilities.

The directive applies to vocational training centers, primary and secondary schools, as well as centers providing pre-school education services.

Quebec to send directive banning cell phones in class: ‘We want to help the concentration of kids’

In the document describing Minister Drainville’s directive, it is stated that this decision is intended to prioritize students’ educational success and well-being.

“Last August, I announced my intention to send a directive to the public school system to ban cell phones in the classroom. The purpose of this directive is to create a climate more conducive to teaching and learning in order to promote students’ academic success”, commented Drainville in a statement sent by e-mail.

The Minister left it up to school councils, with the participation of school staff members, to define the means of enforcing the ban on cell phones in the classroom. They are also responsible for communicating these procedures to students and parents.

In the event of non-compliance with the ban on cell phones in the classroom, the school service center must take “the necessary steps to ensure that the appropriate corrective measures are taken by the school principals”.

For the 2023-2024 school year, the cell phone ban in the classroom must be in place by December 31, 2023.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on October 4, 2023.

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