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‘Fantastic move’ or risk to pupil’s safety? Readers react to Peterhead Academy mobile phone ban

The secondary school plans to ban phones for first year students.

Young girl staring at a mobile phone.
Readers feel mobile phones can be a distraction for pupils during lessons. Image: imageBROKER/Shutterstock.

Peterhead Academy is set to ban first-year students from carrying mobile phones.

Headteacher Gerry McCluskey says the move – which will be implemented from the start of the school year in August – is being implemented to “support” pupils as they adjust to secondary school.

He told The Press and Journal: ““Primary pupils do not have personal smart devices in school, so Peterhead Academy want to support our new S1 young people to settle into academy life and learn about how we use our devices appropriately at school and in the community, before they have to deal with the added social pressures online life in secondary school can bring.”

Scores of parents have championed the move calling for it to become policy in all Aberdeenshire schools.

However, others have cited concerns about child safety, particularly in cases of bullying or underlying health conditions.

‘Other schools should do this’

Lynn Barclay commended staff for the decision, saying: “Great idea. All schools should do this. Well done for the brave decision.”

Laura Simpson echoed her applause adding: “This should be the case in every school.
Well done Peterhead Academy, hopefully, others will follow.”

Erin Marshall acknowledges that mobile phones can act as a distraction during lessons and hopes the venture will prompt a ban in all north-east schools.

She said: “Good idea to try. Too many pupils are on their phones more than they are listening and learning.

“They get used for bullying a lot too. Give it a try and hopefully, it works. Other schools should do this I reckon.”

Michael Dempster added: “Teachers spend far too much time on their phones whilst they should be teaching. I approve.”

Ashleigh Norrie believes staff need to toughen up on the use of mobile phones in schools.

She said: “When I was at school phones would be put in a basket until after lessons.

“It is definitely, something that should still be done. Way too soft on kids at school.”

S1 students at Peterhead Academy will be prohibited from carrying a mobile phone. Image: Kenny Elrick/ DC Thomson

Brenda Young said: “Fantastic move. Phones should never have been allowed in schools in the first place. Well done Peterhead Academy.”

Meanwhile, Hazel Begg says her son’s school have found a unique way to tackle the problem.

She said: “Why not do what my son’s school does, pockets on the back of classroom door with assigned pockets while class is in process.

“Kids with T1 diabetes need their phones to track their levels.”

Parents cite safety fears over lack of access to mobile phones

Despite the overwhelming support, some parents remain sceptical and fear the venture will compromise safety.

Emma McIntyre agrees that mobile phones do not belong in the classroom but should remain accessible to children in times of need.

She said: “I agree kind of. It’s a good idea so the kids won’t be distracted and they’ll concentrate on their work and so on, but I can’t help but think of safety.

“I think their phones should maybe be within reach for emergencies. Some crazy things happen in schools nowadays.

“I wouldn’t be comfortable with my child going to school but not being able to contact me ASAP. Just my opinion.”

Dani Newman echoed her fears, adding: “Agree not to have them in class but has come in handy in a situation where our son needed to contact us as other kids were threatening him. Dread to think of the outcome had he not had a phone.

“Also, a bit too handy for saying can I have money on my bank card, but equally that is useful. Just not for class time.”

Warren Spalding fears the repercussions will result in teachers being targeted..

He said: “It will never work the kids will just give teachers abuse and throw tables and chairs at the teachers.”

Peterhead Academy isn’t the first school to ban mobile phones.

Gordonstoun School, in Moray, banned phones for all pupils during the school day in 2017 – a move that was well-received by both pupils and parents.

What do you think of the ban? Let us know in the comments.