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Stabroek News

Cellphone restriction coming - Holness
published: Thursday | October 4, 2007


Holness

A restriction on the use of cellular phone in classrooms will be part of an education policy that is to be implemented, according to Education Minister Andrew Holness.

Mr. Holness, who was speaking with The Gleaner yesterday at the opening ceremony for the new office complex of the Overseas Examinations Commission on Manhattan Road, St. Andrew, said the management of the use of cellphones in schools has become critical.

"It is going to be treated as part of a policy towards safety in schools," Mr. Holness said.

"We are working on that (the policy) right now and we will be rolling it out very soon," he said.

The minister's remarks followed last week Wednesday's fatal stabbing of Percival Crewe, a student of Albion Primary and Junior High School in St. James, who refused to give one of his cellular phones to a robber.

Not a complete ban

Mr. Holness said the ministry would not completely ban cellular phones in schools.

"My role as an executive of the state, as a minister of government, is to ensure that we balance the provision of rights. So while we acknowledge that persons have a right to use the cellphone, they don't have a right to use the cellphone such that it distracts other persons, or it is used as a facilitator of crime," he said.

At the same time, some students at the ceremony expressed mixed comments regarding the banning of cellular phones.

Yanique Harris of Oberlin High School said the device should be banned in schools, as the use of phones can be disruptive for learning, and at some institutions there is an existing rivalry as to who has the most expensive phone.

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