- 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:
Teachers there have said it’s been transformative: kids more attentive & less distracted (can vouch they listened to me at least…) they get to know other pupils better, no more secret recording of teachers, less bullying. Immediate thought: every school should do this. 2/2
— Jamie Bartlett (@JamieJBartlett) June 25, 2019
I def suppprt but husb is a teacher in a secondary school & while he also supports he’s sceptical on how effective this will be+ impossible to police. Phone use currently rampant. He often finds out about school incidents via students on social media rather than official channels
— Zoe Curtis (@Zoe_Curtis_) June 25, 2019
However one teacher called the ban “short-sighted”:
— Catherine Newton (@mrscnewton) June 25, 2019
Anyone who has taught classes in which students are fiddling with their phones will applaud this decision.
— Daryl Adair (@DarylAdair) June 26, 2019
But amid the “for and against” arguments, some people didn’t even know phones were allowed in schools in the first place.
— monocag (@monocag1) June 26, 2019
When I was in yr12 I was sent to the principals office when a teacher heard a text come through on a phone in my bag. Had no idea mobiles were now allowed in the first place! #backinmyday #vicpol https://t.co/LFdOaXwxsB
— Lauren Pezet (@lauzfitz) June 25, 2019
And worse yet, what if your school doesn’t have lockers in the first place?
Where are the kids meant to put the phones? Reports that they’ll put them in lockers. Most schools don’t have secure lockers unless that’s suddenly become a thing. The kids will end up having to leave them unsecured in their bags. What could go wrong? Hope NSW doesn’t follow this
— Mark Boxsell (@markboxsell) June 25, 2019
Business Insider Australia has contacted the Victorian Government for comment.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.