Mobile disruption not on says MSP

John Lamont MSP has called for pupils to hand in mobile phones at the start of classes after 233 were confiscated in a high school in three years.

Mr Lamont said: “The classroom is supposed to be a place for learning, but these statistics show that more and more lessons are being disrupted by those with mobile phones.

“Teachers have had to stop their lesson hundreds of times over the past few years just to deal with those playing on their phones.

“It is now all too easy for a pupil to have access to their phones in class, and to distract themselves and others around them. This is not only adversely affecting their education, but the education of everyone else in the class who has to put up with the disruption.”

He added: “We need to start clamping down on their use in classrooms, and the common sense thing to do would be to have all pupils hand their phones in at the beginning of the lesson.

“This would allow the teacher to get on with their job of teaching our youngsters, rather than have to deal with constant disruptions.”

The statistics were revealed through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the council, but only one high school had recorded data on disciplinary action on mobile phone use since 2010.

The Borders MSP has also urged parents of schoolchildren to be wary of cyber-bullying after the council revealed that 16 cases have been reported in schools since 2010.

In response to another FOI request, SBC revealed that four incidents were uncovered in primary schools and the rest in local high schools.

According to the response, in each case the parents of the children were informed and the police were involved in at least two instances. A case in 2013 led to a pupil’s exclusion.

Mr Lamont said: “Technology, the internet and social media can be great tools to connect people and improve the ways in which youngsters learn. However, as these statistics show, they can also be used as another medium in which to bully others.

He added that he was pleased that the cases had been ‘dealt with in a strict manner’ and said a zero tolerance, as adopted in the region would discourage others.

But Mr Lamont added: “Many cases of cyber-bullying go unreported and we must be vigilant against it.”