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Letters to the Editor March 14: Hang-ups in the classroom cellphone ban. Plus other letters to the editor

Cellphones will be banned in Ontario classrooms during instructional time, starting in September.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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A big ‘if’ on cell ban

Re Ontario To Ban Cellphones In The Classrooms Starting Next School Year (March 13): I spent nine years dealing with the negative effects of cellphones in classrooms/school. The ubiquitous ownership of cellphones has facilitated day-long bullying, aided in arranging fights between students (willingly or not), allowed perps to contact outsiders for gang fights after school, created hundreds of hours of work for administrators as they try to recover stolen phones, facilitated cheating during assessments, created new and unwanted privacy issues for teachers and students, and increased the distraction factor during class.

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All of these issues have added to the work of administrators.

As to banning them? Good luck. Every administrator can tell you of parents who insist that their child must have their phone all day, in case of emergency. The perfectly reasonable alternative of calling the office to relay a message? Not acceptable.

Will this ban support student success and well-being? Absolutely. Will parents and students support administrators in enforcing the ban? By and large yes, but 10 per cent won’t, and that 10 per cent will come to occupy countless hours of an administrator’s already busy life, and work to undermine their authority. I would suggest that every principal have handy cards available, with the phone numbers of the Premier and the Minister of Education.

John Brady, secondary school principal (retired), Toronto

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As a former high school teacher, I’ve seen this all before. While I agree that a smartphone ban from classrooms is a good idea “if implemented effectively,” that’s a rather large “if” (Hey, Kids, Leave Those Phones Alone – editorial, March 13).

Resistance from many students (and, yes, their parents) is inevitable, and will result in a deluge of problems sent to the main office, where harried administrators, terrified of parental and school-board blowback over disciplinary action, will cede responsibility to individual teachers. This is precisely the messy situation as it stands at present.

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Well-intentioned rules imposed by ambitious political leaders and educrats who know little of the realities of the classroom too often end up being downloaded to teachers, not all of whom enjoy the authority or the support necessary to enforce them.

This latest attempt to cure a social concern will result only in mixed messaging and further frustration.

Andrew Milner, Peterborough, Ont.

Taxed by the comparison

Re Canada-U.S. Tax Gap Widening, Report Says (Report on Business, March 13): It is irritating to see the Fraser Institute, which I assume takes full advantage of the tax breaks available to it, trumpeting that we pay higher income tax rates than most of the U.S. states.

Let me see … what do we get for that? Health care, better schools, fewer firearm deaths, a more equitable society. I think I am happy to pay for that.

Jane McCall, Delta, B.C.

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The latest budget proposal from the White House calls for cuts to salaries and pensions for federal workers, as well as cuts to health care and education, while still projecting a deficit of a trillion dollars.

Is this where the Fraser Institute wants us to go? If so, I know where the Fraser Institute can go … but it is not fit to print.

Andrew Hodgson, Ottawa

Should she quit? In my opinion …

I read The Globe and Mail every day and especially enjoy it when I see a variety of opinions which make me think. On Wednesday, I saw four opinions on the SNC-Lavalin issue.

Opinion No. 1: Brian Gable’s editorial cartoon portrayed Justin Trudeau as an arrogant monarch for trying to put pressure on the attorney-general.

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Opinion No. 2: A letter to the editor, Let’s Move On Now, pointed out that the government did put pressure on Jody Wilson-Raybould, she didn’t listen (which was good), no laws were broken and it’s the election-hungry Conservatives and New Democrats who are interested in keeping this issue alive.

Opinion No. 3: In his column, A TV Critic’s Guide To The SNC-Lavalin Drama, John Doyle compared the testimonies of Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Gerald Butts to a TV drama and concluded that Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s testimony was full of “righteous indignation” and Mr. Butts’s testimony was “not as calculated” and that we needed to see all the threads of the drama to understand it.

Opinion No 4: Lawrence Martin wondered why Jody Wilson-Raybould is staying in the Liberal Party, considering that she has dealt with it in a “needlessly” politically “reckless” manner (Wilson-Raybould Should Quit The Liberals).

After thinking about these, let me add my own opinion: Perhaps Ms. Wilson-Raybould is happy to see the Liberal Party falter, because the SNC issue could mean Justin Trudeau’s exit, leaving an opening for her in the leadership position.

Elizabeth Fernandes, Toronto

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The reason that Jody Wilson-Raybould should not leave the Liberal Party is that the party and what it stands for are much more than Justin Trudeau. Has Lawrence Martin forgotten The Globe and Mail’s motto: The subject who is truly loyal to the chief magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures?

Jim Paulin, Ottawa

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No kidding, Jody Wilson-Raybould should quit the Liberals after throwing her party, colleagues, supporters and the Prime Minister under the bus of pejorative public perception.

She has isolated herself on some kind of pedestal, but has nowhere to go. She wasn’t ready for a top job at master control: That is a political observation, not racism, sexism or any other ism.

The party doesn’t want to make a martyr of her by firing her. She had her 15 minutes of fame: What awaits Ms. Wilson-Raybould is the junk heap of fractured egos that is the landing pad for all defeated members of Parliament.

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Bruce Craig, Hamilton

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John Doyle nailed the SNC-Lavalin “affair” for what it really is: Canadian content for viewers who have grown tired of the Donald Trump Show.

Script writers are hunkered at their keyboards to create the next episode, which may or may not answers series devotees’ questions: Will Jody be kicked out of caucus? Will Justin ever apologize for crossing the Shawcross Line? Will winter ever end in Ottawa?

Stay tuned! (Or not – I’m going back to watching curling.)

Pat Van Horne, Ottawa

Hmm …

Re Golden Age (March 9): A letter writer refers to the “many lotions, potions, pills and devices that summon depressing intimations of impending mortality,” the symptoms of which my father cheerfully called “chronic progressive decrepitude.”

He lived to 94.

Noel Fraser, Ancaster, Ont.

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