Cellphone Ban at B.C. School Brings Improved Grades, Better Mental Health

In a bid to enhance the educational experience for students, Chatelech Secondary School in Sechelt, British Columbia, has enforced a five-month-old ban on cellphones, and the results have been encouraging, to nobody’s surprise.

The policy, which was initiated in response to the growing mental health and academic concerns among students, has received mixed reactions from educators, reports CBC News.

“We are seeing improved mental health, decreased bullying, more engagement in class, and increased academic success,” said school counsellor Tulani Pierce, who first proposed the ban after witnessing students’ mental health troubles and their struggle to set aside their phones.

Despite some students initially reacting with anger, many were relieved once the ban was in full effect. The policy aims to provide tech boundaries for students and promote equity since not all families can afford cellphones.

P.E. teacher Robert Schumann has noticed a significant change in student behaviour since the ban was enforced. The school’s no-cellphone policy has led to increased engagement and interaction among students.

Despite the positive results, not all education stakeholders are in agreement. Patti Bacchus, former chair of the Vancouver School Board, views the policy as outdated, arguing that it imposes limitations on students who might need their phones for tasks outside of school. Bacchus advocates for an educative approach to help students understand the pros and cons of cellphone usage rather than an outright ban.

“I would rather educate and make students become critical thinkers. What are the impacts of screen time? How does that affect you? What does science tell us and learn about it?”, said Bacchus.

Regardless of the differing opinions, Pierce remains hopeful that the ban will inspire other schools across Canada to help students balance their technological interactions.

Ontario banned cellphones in classrooms during non-instructional times, back in the fall of 2019. With Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and other enticing apps on smartphones, is an outright ban the way to go in schools, or should students be educated about being addicted to the Internet and devices?