Mobiles “too expensive to confiscate”, claims headteacher

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MOBILE phones are too expensive to confiscate from disruptive students, according to a leading head teacher.

Alan Pithie says pupils often have mobile phones that cost £500, and the risk of losing or damaging these phones poses a risk to teachers.

Mr Pithie head at Auchmuty High School in Glenrothes, Fife, says his school has a policy of not removing mobile phones.

Peer pressure means many pupils feel under pressure to have top-of-the-range phones including Apple iPhone 7, costing around £700, or Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge, costing around £630.

Some pupils cause low-level disruption by using phones in class for for texting and gaming but they have also been used to film classroom fights, which are then shared on social media.

Mr Pithie said: “Our policy is that teachers should not remove phones because if that goes missing that costs £500.

“Technology is with us and it is a terrible nusiance if a child gets a phone out in class.

“We have got to teach sensible use, but there is a real danger of confiscating phones.”

Seamus Searson, General Secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teacher’ Association said: “Youngsters should only have phones out in an emergency, they should not be out in class. If they absolutely need to be confiscated, for whatever reason, they should go to the school office, where money or something else would go.

“But if a teacher says they are going to take a phone away, that can cause a confrontation that was not there before.

“I know a lot of students want to the latest gadget, but if a youngster has a £500 phone, there’s a question to be asked. If the argument is to have a phone for an emergency, then a cheap pay-as-you-go phone is all you need.”

In November, a fight between two school girls in a classroom at Eastwood High School in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, went viral after being posted on social media.

In the footage, the girls grab each other’s hair and end up sprawled on the classroom floor before a fellow pupil and the teacher manage to break them up. Bizarrely, a pupil strolls past the fighting pair at one moment to take her seat.

 
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