BRACEBRIDGE, ON  – A pending cell phone ban in classrooms being mandated by the province will not necessarily be adhered to at the Trillium Lakeland District School Board.

Last week the Ministry of Education announced the ban, scheduled for November 4th, stating that the use of personal mobile devices in the classroom will be implemented.

According to a response from the TLDSB, the board is putting the edict into its official policy manual but will allow teachers final discretion on the use of phones in the classroom.

“We have received Ministry of Education direction around the use of cell phones in classrooms,” read a statement from the board.

“As required, we will be updating the Board’s code of conduct policy and procedure. In saying that, our approach to cell phone use will not change. We trust our teachers to use technology as they see fit as they work with parents to support any concerns or issues.”

The MyHaliburtonNow.com newsroom sought clarification on the statement and asked if this meant the board would not follow the provincial direction.

Sinead Fegan, a communications officer with the board replied, “Cell phone use is permitted in classrooms for educational purposes and we trust our teacher’s judgement to determine what this
will look like in their classrooms.”

One high profile attempt to block cell phones in the classroom took place at the Toronto District School Board in 2011 but was ultimately reversed four years later.

“When in class, students should be focused on their studies, not their social media,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education in a news release last week. “That’s why we are restricting cellphones and other personal mobile devices in the classroom while making sure technology is available to help students achieve success in the digital economy and modern workforce.”

Officials said exceptions will be made if cellphones are required for health or medical purposes, to support special education needs or for educational purposes allowed by the instructor.