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Quebec schools to ban cellphones in classrooms to help kids pay more attention, sparking discussion

The education minister stated that cell phones are taking up too much space in our kids' lives and that this is a step towards allowing them to concentrate better on their studies.

Quebec schools to ban cellphones in classrooms to help kids pay more attention, sparking discussion
Representative Cover Image Source: Pixabay/14995841

Technology is moving too fast. While there are a lot of benefits to this—making the world more and more accessible by the day—it also presents some serious cons. A major drawback we see is that kids these days are consumed by technology. They are either on their phones scrolling through social media or are on OTT platforms watching videos. Quebec is now making an attempt to put a curb on this matter. Speaking to CBC Canada, Education Minister Bernard Drainville shared that the province will ban cellphone use in all public school classrooms "as soon as possible."

Representative Image Source: Pixabay/Helena Jankovičová Kováčová
Representative Image Source: Pixabay/Helena Jankovičová Kováčová

He remarked, "Cell phones are taking up more and more space in our kids' lives. We know that, and what we want is for them to concentrate on what their teachers are saying, rather than the texts they get." If kids utilize gadgets for educational purposes, exceptions will be made, Drainville said to the outlet. A similar motion was rejected in May, but Drainville claimed that after seriously considering the matter, he concluded that banning cell phones would improve the environment for academic performance. The year 2019 saw the introduction of a cellphone ban in Ontario, and according to Drainville, Quebec is just following in its footsteps.


Before they impose the ban, the cabinet must agree to whatever Drainville proposes. It is unclear how the rule will be applied. According to Drainville, it will be up to the schools to decide. A few institutions, including St. Thomas High School in Montreal, have already banned cell phone use in the classroom. Having long been annoyed by students using cell phones in class, Mike Wadden, a social studies teacher at Macdonald High School in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, says he was happy to learn of the restriction. He claims that as students spend more time online, there are fewer school activities and that cell phones have impacted student leadership and morale.

Representative Image Source: Pixabay/Jan Vašek
Representative Image Source: Pixabay/Jan Vašek

However, after seeing the order, he said it was similar to a policy at a local school. According to Wadden, "They're going to allow students to use them when necessary. They're going to give teachers leeway to allow kids to use cellphones in the classroom and it's not going to work. These kids are addicted." He added, "It's just words. There's no concrete action to really remove [cellphones], and that is disappointing." He claims that in the event of an emergency, parents who are concerned about being able to reach their kids can still phone the school. According to him, parents frequently text their children during lessons and occasionally even during tests, adding to the distraction.


The Fédération des comités de parents du Québec's (parent committee federation) president, Mélanie Laviolette, concurs cellphone use should be restricted because it distracts pupils. She further added that pupils occasionally take pictures of their friends without their knowledge, which can result in cyberbullying. She said that the choice should ultimately be decided by the institutions closest to parents and kids, not at the provincial government level, as schools have always had the authority to forbid cellphone usage in the classroom.

She added: "The measure comes from good intentions. Our stance is that not having cell phones in classrooms is a good thing, but it should be up to the governing boards to make those decisions. However, it is a distraction and [the ban] can help maintain an adequate attention span for our kids and their education." According to Laviolette, several schools have already established guidelines, ranging from requiring students to put their phones in their lockers to merely requesting that they leave them in their bags. She believes that this would give schools more power.

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