Ontario Bans Cellphones and Vaping in Schools Starting September 2023

Ontario bans cellphones, vaping in schools, blocks social media to address distractions and student well-being concerns. New measures aim to restore focus and safety in classrooms.

Sakchi Khandelwal
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Ontario Bans Cellphones and Vaping in Schools Starting September 2023

Ontario Bans Cellphones and Vaping in Schools Starting September 2023

The Ontario government has introduced new measures to curb cellphone use, starting in September 2023. Under the new policy, students in kindergarten through Grade 12 will be required to keep their phones silent and out of sight during class time, unless granted permission by an educator. Repeat violations could result in student suspensions.

In addition to the cellphone restrictions, the province is banning vaping devices in schools and on school grounds. Students caught with vape products or cigarettes will be required to hand them over to school staff, who will then notify parents. The government has allocated $30 million from its 2024 budget to install vape detectors and implement other security upgrades in schools.

The measures also include blocking access to all social media platforms on school networks and devices. School boards will be instructed to remove social media websites from their networks. Furthermore, sharing or recording videos and photos of individuals without consent will be prohibited on school property.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce stated that the changes aim to address the growing problems of cellphone distractions and the rise of vaping among students. "We are taking action to reduce distractions in classrooms, and keep students focused on learning and away from harmful addictive substances," Lecce said.

Why this matters: The new measures reflect growing concerns about the impact of technology and vaping on student learning and well-being. With an increasing number of school boards taking legal action against social media companies, the Ontario government's policy changes signal a broader shift towards stricter regulation of digital devices and platforms in educational settings.

The cellphone and vaping restrictions are part of the Ontario government's broader "back to basics" plan for education. The province is providing $17.5 million in new funding to support student mental health and parent engagement, including resources to address the adverse effects of vaping and excessive cellphone usage. While some education groups have expressed concerns about enforcement challenges, the government maintains that the changes are necessary to restore focus, safety, and common sense in Ontario schools.

Key Takeaways

  • Ontario bans student cellphone use in classrooms starting Sept 2023.
  • Province bans vaping devices in schools, requires students to hand over vape products.
  • Access to social media platforms blocked on school networks and devices.
  • $30M allocated to install vape detectors and upgrade school security.
  • Measures aim to address distractions, vaping, and restore focus in schools.