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State Govt defends school mobile phone ban


A ban on mobile phones in South Australian high schools will make it easier for students to focus on learning while also helping to cut bullying and harassment, Education Minister Blair Boyer says.

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Boyer has defended the move after criticism from the state opposition which says the government has been sloppy in delivering its promised policy.

The ban, similar to that in place in Victoria since 2020, will begin rolling out in some schools from the start of term one next week and should be in place across all public schools by term three.

“This ban will contribute to making sure that kids can actually focus on their learning,” Boyer said.

“It will contribute to reducing bullying and harassment and we are not budging one bit from our commitment to deliver it.”

Under the rules, student phones must remain switched off or in flight mode, and out of reach all day including during breaks.

Schools may use lockers, special magnetic pouches or other ways to secure phones.

Some exemptions will apply including students who may need their phones because of medical conditions.

Opposition education spokesman John Gardner said the government’s policy failed to deliver a “real ban”.

Gardner said it wouldn’t remove phones from classrooms and didn’t give schools any support to reduce the use of phones in school settings.

“This policy fails to deliver a real ban, but instead raises expectations and creates new complexity for schools, principals and teachers,” he said.

The opposition said the Education Department’s policy had always been that the students should not be permitted to use phones during lessons, unless for educational purposes, and that schools were encouraged to have a proactive policy in relation to the use of mobile phones more broadly.

It said schools that wanted to invest in lockers or magnetically sealed pouches to further restrict phones were encouraged to do so.


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