Student Mobile Phone Guidelines
Posted: 19-Jun-2019

Student Use of Mobile Phones at Damascus College

The Student Use of Mobile Phones Regulations at Damascus College has been updated and ready for implementation at the start of term 3. This follows a rigorous process that involved student and staff surveys, conversations with ‘like’ schools, independent research and discussions with the wellbeing team and wellbeing subcommittee of the School Board.

Damascus College acknowledges that Mobile Phones are an integral part of the 21st Century. We acknowledge that members of our school community use mobile phones for communication and leisure purposes. In addition to this, we recognise that families often rely on the use of phones as a means of contact with their child as do students to their parents/guardians. Staff and students have identified that mobile phones can be disruptive to the learning environment. Furthermore, the use of apps and other functions of phones have the potential to compromise the wellbeing of students, staff and the infrastructure of the school’s network. It is within the context of these benefits and concerns that the school regulate the use of mobile phones in an educative and transparent manner.

The Student Representative Council confirmed the aforementioned concerns as demonstrated in their student survey results;
• 78% of students agreed that mobile phones have been a distraction for teaching and learning in the classroom.
• 63% of students agreed that classrooms would be more productive without the presence of a mobile phone. Another 30% of students suggested that this ‘maybe’ the case.
• 2% of students felt that mobile phones served some educative purpose in the classroom

Comments from students included;
‘Mobile phones are a part of our society these days- I do agree that in class they are not needed, but to ban them entirely seems like a drastic measure to something that isn’t a large issue’.
‘The mobile phone ban in class is relatively fair, but as soon as it is banned in our time (recess/lunch), it takes away our freedom and responsibility.’
‘I think the school should pursue more strict regulation of phones in the classroom, and develop the initiative of the “phone free zones” to provide a tech-free space.’
‘I think that having your phone at recess and lunch can make it feel like more of a break, as you can do your own thing. But, a total ban during class time is the way to go I think.’

Staff members echoed similar thoughts;
• 72% of staff felt that mobile phones served no educative purpose in the classroom- under the 1 to 1 device program.
• 76% of staff felt that mobile phones were negatively impacting the learning environment of the classroom.
• 90% of staff agreed that banning mobile phones in the classroom would increase student engagement.

In consultation with Staff, Students, the Wellbeing Team, School Leadership and members of the Wellbeing Board School Subcommittee the following regulations exist for student use of mobile phones at Damascus College:-

1. All classrooms and learning areas, including Sports and Activity Centres, are designated mobile free zones. Mobile Phones must be locked in lockers during class, House/ School assemblies, Masses and Teacher Advisor mornings.
2. Students are encouraged not to access their phone at recess and lunchtimes. If students elect to do so, cameras and recording devices are not to be used.
3. All scheduled learning times at camps and retreats are mobile free zones. Parents and students are asked to refer to camp itineraries for further information.
4. Mobile phone cameras (still and video) must not be used in banned spaces, as deemed by the Department of Education and Training, for example changing rooms, toilets, gyms, athletic tracks and swimming pools.
5. Material developed and shared on a phone that compromises a student, Damascus College or the community will be subject to legislative consequences.
6. Damascus College accepts no responsibility for replacing mobile phones that are lost, stolen or damaged while on College premises, camps and retreats or at College functions.

We remind parents that any emergency contact can be made through the main office where it will be dealt with immediately.

Breaches of any of these regulations elicits a warning for the first offence with subsequent violations necessitating confiscation of the phone for the remainder of the school day. Should future violations occur, Damascus College will be requesting that student’s phone remain at home or by negotiation handed into the office at the start of each day. Students will be asked to collect their phone at the end of the day. Under no circumstances will a student’s phone be kept on campus overnight. Parents will be notified of any breach of regulations through PAM where we would ask for your support in reinforcing these guidelines.

Over the next two weeks, TA staff will be supporting students with the transition into these regulations. If there are students at the College who require the use of mobile phones to monitor a medical condition, could parents please contact the appropriate House Leader. 

Mr Andy Robertson - Assistant Principal Student Wellbeing

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