Black and white graphic of a top-down view of a teachers desk; the drawer is open and filled with confiscated cell phones that the teacher was forced to take in order to comply with new WRDSB policy forbidding their use by students during class.


The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) will implement a ban on cellphone use in public schools.  

On Apr. 28, 2024, Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce declared that schools will implement stricter rules to standardize processes and punishment for students who get repeatedly distracted by cell phone usage during class time.  

The ban will prohibit students from kindergarten to grade 6 from bringing their devices to school. Students in grades 7-12 can only use their devices when permitted or outside the classroom. The new policy is set to be implemented in September 2024.  

As part of the newly implemented policy, the school board plans to erase social media sites from school networks and media. Teachers also get asked to write about student distraction levels in semester report cards.  

The ban brought various mixed reactions from the public. While some parents and students agreed that the ban provides a safer learning environment for students, others thought it was unnecessary. Teachers are also voicing concerns over how it will not improve the learning environment.  

During an interview with Ross Howey of the WRDSB communications office said the ban is a necessary step in addressing issues such as cyberbullying and cellphone addiction.   

“The collaborative and ongoing efforts in many WRDSB schools to implement shifts in cellphone use demonstrates our commitment to supporting student achievement and well-being,” Howey said.  

The board believes the cellphone ban will “restore safety and common sense in Ontario Schools.”  

However, knowing how sudden the implementation was and the wave of disapproval towards the action, Howey says that the cellphone ban is not a permanent measure.  

“We know that students, families and staff may share differing views on this direction, and we look forward to working in partnership with our stakeholders to continue creating learning environments where all students can achieve their full potential,” Howey said.   

Despite the benefits of this new measure, teachers and staff voiced their concerns. They believe this new ban will only put more pressure on their career.  

“None of this is going to address the needs in Ontario schools right now,” Karen Littlewood, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, said.