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Quebec Teen Sends Cease-and-Desist to School Board Over Cellphone Policy

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How far should a Quebec school board’s cellphone policy go? According to 15-year old Quebec teen Vincent Duguay, he believes they are too tough, which is why he sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region school board, reports The Canadian Press.

Duguay hand-delivered his legal letter to the school board last week, where he says the policy which allows a student’s cellphone to be confiscated for up to 24 hours, is “unconstitutional.”

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The teen’s father, Benoit Duguay, told Radio-Canada’s Saguenay station his son has never had his cellphone confiscated, and that he has no issue with the policy banning smartphones in the classroom.

However, the teen’s father believes the confiscating of a cellphone over a longer period of time is unreasonable, saying “There shouldn’t be a prejudice against the kids if they’re caught.”

Benoit recalled how one of his son’s friends had his cellphone taken away by the school, and was fired from his job because his employer was unable to reach him. Other issues at stake involve security, if students aren’t able to use their cellphones.

While the elder Duguay says no legal action is coming towards the school board, he says he wants the policy changed. The letter has been shared and discussed widely in Quebec over the past week.

Claudie Fortin, a spokeswoman for the Rives-du-Saguenay school board, said in a statement cellphone policies are set by individual schools in different areas, noting it’s the first time a cellphone complaint has been received.

“We will reply directly to him in the coming days,” Fortin added, noting the letter was now in the hands of the school board’s lawyers.

The Toronto School Board, Canada’s largest school board, had previously banned cellphones in schools but reversed the policy in 2011, realizing an outright ban was next to impossible, and now encourages the use of technology in the classroom, where appropriate.

Such policies are advocated by some researchers and educators, as they note students will find ways to sneak cellphones into the classroom regardless of rules.

Lately, some have pushed for Apple to make iPhones less “addictive”, suggesting the device is to blame instead of human actions and decisions.

What do you think? Ban cellphones in schools or integrate them into the classroom?

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  • Bill___A

    Although I think that schools should have control of the classroom, so to speak, I have long had concerns about schools arbitrarily seizing devices. Teachers are nor trained to be policemen or judges. I will be interested to see how this goes and hope the schools find some other way to enforce this.

  • So Young

    I think cellphones should not be allowed on primary and high school to begin with.

  • Riley Freeman

    im not in high school anymore but boy i wish a motherf*** would try and take my phone away for longer than the time i am in that class.

  • Riley Freeman

    thats ridiculous

  • Sam

    Better reinforcement:
    If a teacher catches a student using a cell phone in-appropriately, the teacher should confiscate said cellphone. The parents is notified and mush show up in order to get it back. Involving the parents will produce all kind of consequences / awareness that will encourage the proper use of said cellphone. In the event that the parents dont care either than the school knows that there is an underlying problem and it may not be the kid’s.
    Note, since a kid should never be sent home without their cellphone (security reasons), this means detention till the parents shows up. If the parents cant, the kid has to bring their phone to the front office EVERY morning and pick it back up after school till the parents shows up. There are many, many other methods to encourage better behaviours.

  • Olley

    do what airlines doing – allow cellphone access but blocks Facebook, WhatsApp, snapchat traffic.

  • If they want to take it away if I’m caught using it for the duration of the class, that’s understandable to me. However keeping it longer after I have to leave for another class or go home is theft. I’d be calling the police and reporting my teacher for stealing my phone.

    Or I’d try anyway.

  • Perhaps install a cell jammer in each classroom, controlled by a light switch. So everyone basically just had an iPod in class.

    Just a thought.

  • Bill___A

    Lawmakers and school administrations need to ensure that they have control of the classroom, without resorting to stealing devices from children. They need to take a good hard look at the tools they make available to do this. “Jamming” is illegal and doesn’t get the discipline problem fixed, it just permits some kind of distraction without the connectivity. I noticed my 17 year old niece had a vpn on her iPhone. I asked why. She said it was because the schools blocked certain sites, that’s how the kids got around it. Schools need to get smarter, and if legislation needs to change, so be it.

  • Damn, smart girl you have there heh.

  • Bill___A

    I think they were all doing it….

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