France to ban students from using cellphones next year

By Allen Cone  |  Dec. 12, 2017 at 4:42 PM
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Dec. 12 (UPI) -- French students in primary and secondary schools will be forbidden from using phones during the school day starting next year, the nation's education minister said.

Schools currently allow students to use cellphones only during breaks, lunch and between classes, but President Emmanuel Macron pledged during his election campaign extend the classroom ban throughout the school day.

"These days the children don't play at break time anymore, they are just all in front of their smartphones and from an educational point of view that's a problem," Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French education minister, said, according to The Telegraph.

Le Monde reported more than 80 percent of adolescents in France had smartphones in 2015, compared with 20 percent in 2011, according to a study by the Research Center for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions.

It's a cause for concern for some administrators, including Philippe Tournier, a Paris headmaster with the Snpden-Unsa teaching union. Tournier said up to 40 percent of school punishments are related to phone use.

"It's about enforcing the rules and the law. The use of telephones is forbidden in class," Blanquer said in September, according to Le Figaro. "With principals, teachers, and parents, we need to find ways to protect our students from the dispersion of screens and phones. In the Council of Ministers, we put our cellphones in lockers before we meet. It seems to me that this is feasible for any human group, including a class."

Blanquer said students' phones could be kept in lockers during lessons.

Many French primary schools already ban cellphones.

Claire Krepper, teacher and national secretary of the teachers' union, told Le Monde there aren't enough resources to institute the ban.

In England, schools decide on any phone bans, according to a BBC report.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio rescinded a ban on cellphones in 2015.

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