MSP pushes for ban on using mobile phones in classrooms

Hawick MSP John Lamont
Hawick MSP John Lamont
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TORY MSP John Lamont is calling for a ban on mobile phones in school classrooms.

Data obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows that 238 pupils were disciplined in Borders classrooms during the last 3 years.And Scottish Borders Council’s reply to the FOI request shows that in one unnamed high school phone confiscations reached a high of 91 in 2010/11.

Speaking this week, the Hawick-based politician said: “The classroom is supposed to be a place for learning but these statistics show that lessons are being disrupted by those with mobile phones.

“Teachers have had to stop lessons hundreds of times during the last few years just to deal with those playing on their phones.”

And the MSP is suggesting that mobile phones should be handed in before each lesson starts in a bid to avoid constant disruptions.

He added: “It is all to easy for a pupil to have access to their phone in class and to distract themselves and others around them. This is not only adversely affecting their education but also the education of everyone in the class who has to put up with the disruption.

“We need to start clamping down on their use in classrooms. The common sense thing to do would be to have all pupils hand their phones in at the beginning of the lesson.”

But one local teacher ,who didn’t want to be named, is suggesting that getting youngsters to hand in phones at the start of lessons may, in itself, be disruptive.

“Mobile phone use in class is a problem. But asking 30 or so kids to give up what many view as their most prized possession isn’t an easy task either,” she said.

“The theory is fine but the practicality is something else altogether.”

However, Mr Lamont is stopping short in calling for an outright ban on phone use in schools and is saying his plan would allow children access to their mobiles during break times and after school if they need to contact their parents.