PARENTS are divided over the introduction of a ban on mobile phones at a secondary school.
Children returning to Wath Comprehensive after the Easter Holidays this week were subject to new rules barring them from using their mobile phones during the school day.
Students’ phones, devices and headphones have to be kept switched off and in their bags.
The majority of parents commenting on the Facebook group I Grew Up in Wath-Upon-Dearne supported the ban and said it would help pupils to concentrate while they were in school.
Some parents, however, expressed concerns about how their children would get in touch with them if they felt unsafe.
One man, who described the ban as an “absolute joke”, said: “It won’t work - you’ll just have more kids in detention wasting time because the school’s that petty.”
A father said his daughters had phones on them for safety reasons so they could get in touch with him or their mother.
Another said children at the school needed phones because many of them were being bullied.
The school said in a letter to parents that it was widely recognised that unregulated use of devices and heightened access to screen time could result in online bullying, anti-social behaviour, limited social skills and limited development of spoken and written language.
It said any pupils needing to contact home or a parent or carer should contact the school’s main reception.
Ellis Steadman, who lives in Wath and is a teacher in Leeds, said he supported the ban.
He said: “It’s standard policy in most schools for mobile devices to be away when on school grounds.
“The school should be putting other systems in place to help pupils at break times and lunch times if they are finding it difficult and need someone to talk to.
“It’s up to school to enforce it, the parents to support it and the children to accept it.
“Something like this takes a while to implement and the school can’t give up when they get complaints.”
Gary Johnson, whose son Nathan attends the school, said he could not understand why people were against the new rule.
He said: “It makes them concentrate in school lessons better, which has to be the biggest plus from this rule.”
The blanket ban will be phased in - if pupils use their mobile phone before April 23 they will be reminded to switch it off and put it in their bags.
If they are caught after this date, but before May 7, the phone will be confiscated and returned at the end of the school day.
If pupils are caught after May 7, and they have been caught once before, their phone will either be confiscated and given to a parent or placed in a sealed bag for five days.
The Advertiser contacted Wath Comprehensive School for comment and was referred to Rotherham Borough Council, which did not respond by the time of going to press.
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