In terrible news for Victorian kids, phones will be banned at public schools from 2020

Phones will be banned in Victorian public schools from 2020. Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images
  • Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino has announced a ban on the use of phones in public schools throughout the state.
  • The move is designed to combat cyberbullying.
  • The ban has triggered both outrage and support throughout the country.

Students at Victorian public schools will be banned from using their phones during school hours after a landmark decision handed down by the state’s Education Minister James Merlino.

The ban will be enforced during school hours at Victorian primary and secondary schools, beginning on the first term of 2020, the ABC reports.

Under the ban, phones must be kept in school lockers unless a student needs it for medical reasons, or a teacher needs everyone to have their phone for a class activity.

The move is designed to combat cyberbullying and Merlino said on Twitter that it was the “right thing to do”.

“It will cut down on distraction in the classroom and cyber-bullying in the schoolyard,” he said.

While Merlino acknowledged that the ban was not going to resolve cyberbullying completely, he said it “will make a big difference”, the ABC reports.

“We cannot stamp it out. It is going to occur. But we can take some real steps to reduce the level of bullying,” he said.

The move has already been divisive. Some twitter users were happy about the decision to ban phones, with one saying it helped students become more attentive:

However one teacher called the ban “short-sighted”:

But amid the “for and against” arguments, some people didn’t even know phones were allowed in schools in the first place.

And worse yet, what if your school doesn’t have lockers in the first place?

In a 2018 Deloitte study, 89% of Australians surveyed own a smartphone. According to Pedestrian students entering primary school in 2019 have not experienced a world before the iPhone 5 existed.

Business Insider Australia has contacted the Victorian Government for comment.