'Students at Victorian public schools will be banned from using their phones from next year.
In an effort to reduce distractions and cyber bullying, and hopefully improve education outcomes, students will have to switch off their phones and store them in lockers during school hours until the final bell, the education minister, James Merlino, has announced.
In case of an emergency, parents or guardians can reach their child by calling the school.
The only exceptions to the ban will be where students use phones to monitor health conditions, or where teachers instruct students to bring their phone for a particular classroom activity.
“This will remove a major distraction from our classrooms, so that teachers can teach, and students can learn in a more focused, positive and supported environment,” Merlino said.
“Half of all young people have experienced cyberbullying. By banning mobiles we can stop it at the school gate.”
The ban will start from term one in 2020.
Some Victorian schools had already banned mobile phones, but the new laws impose a statewide ban for the first time.
McKinnon Secondary College, a high performing public school in Melbourne’s south-east, was among those that banned phones from its grounds.
The principal, Pitsa Binnion, said the school had “observed improved social connections, relationships and interactions” at lunchtime and that students were “more focused”.'
Read more: Australian State of Victoria to ban mobile phones in all state primary and secondary schools
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