Use of mobile phones in schools
Scotland's councils have today been urged by Education Minister Hugh Henry to make sure every school has clear and effective guidelines about the use of mobile phones on their premises.
The Minister has also said he expects all pupils, parents and staff to be made aware of the guidelines.
Following recent incidents where mobile phones have been misused in schools, Mr Henry has today written to councils, pointing out that some councils are already revising their policies to make sure these are clear, specific and effectively communicated.
The Minister added:
"Any kind of violence or the filming of such violence in schools is totally unacceptable. We back schools in taking tough action against all forms of bad behaviour, including misuse of mobile phones. Irresponsible use of mobile phones cannot and will not be tolerated. Staff and parents need to know that action will be taken against those who misuse mobile phones in schools. Pupils need to know the consequences of misuse.
"Every school should have a clear policy on the use of mobile phones on its premises, and make it clear that any abuse - such as using these phones to bully and humiliate - will be dealt with severely.
"I will back headteachers who take action against those who use mobile phones irresponsibly. I expect headteachers to use the full range of powers available to them, including temporary confiscation, exclusion and - in extreme cases - the involvement of the police.
"We will continue to work with councils, teachers, pupils and parents to develop responsible and appropriate use of mobile phone technology.
"I will shortly be meeting with teaching unions, council education directors, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, and representatives of CoSLA, in my role as chair of the Discipline Stakeholder Group, and will task them with looking further at this issue. I will be inviting representatives from BT and mobile phone industry to that meeting, to give us their experiences and help us in our deliberations."
The Scottish Executive provides guidance, in its Safe and Well handbook, that schools should have a policy on mobile phone use, developed in consultation with parents, pupils and staff. The policy should outline the rules on the use of mobile phones in schools, sanctions for their misuse, confiscation and return.