East London schools clamp down on cellphones

East London schools are clamping down on the use of cellphones by pupils during school hours as a result of “abuse” while attending classes, Dispatch Online reported on Wednesday.

At least four of the city’s top schools this year put a stop to both calling and SMSing on school grounds.

Selborne College and Clarendon Girls’ High and Primary have declared their school premises “a cellphone-free campus”.

At Hudson Park High, pupils are not allowed to use their cellphones at any time of the school day. An exception would be made in an emergency.

Charlene Barnard, the principal at Althorpe College, said the school confiscated cellphones, then charged the pupil a R5 “fine” and donated the money to charity.

The ban on cellphones comes amid reports of students cheating in exams by saving tips and SMSing each other during class periods.

Last year, the Daily Dispatch reported how pupils at Stirling High School used cellphones to record vicious attacks and fight scenes among uniformed grade eight children on the school’s grounds.

Other schools also voiced concern about the use of cellphones after it came to light that pupils were using them to distribute pornography.

Mandy Croney, Hudson Park’s deputy head for pupil management said: “We have seen enormous abuse of cellphones during school hours. Children are busy with their cellphones under their desks while teachers are busy teaching.”

“If learners are seen using cellphones without permission or using it without the presence of a staff member then we will confiscate the phone and the sim-card for a month.”

Hudson Park parents welcomed the school’s decision and some of the school’s pupils thought it was a good move, though others thought it “wasn’t fair”.
- Sapa

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