EDITORIAL: Teach students when and how

Schools, above all, should be looking forward, not trying to hold back progress. So it seems strange schools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are attempting to block students’ access to social media sites.

We say attempt because this ill thought-out policy was doomed from the start. Even if students were unable to find a way around the block, they would just switch to using data on their phones. For that matter, they would switch to another myriad of social media channels.

Instead, educators should do just that: educate. Social media and instant access to information are an integral part of students’ lives. There are many things, however, they need to learn.

Not using social media while a teacher is speaking to a class should be a basic rule, just like not passing notes. The solution to passing notes wasn’t banning paper.

It’s certainly reasonable for teachers to require students to put devices away when they aren’t required in class, but we have to question whether schools can deny students access when they aren’t in class. Recess and lunch are students’ own time, the same as when they leave school grounds.

Having a policy like this carries with it the implication something is wrong with using social media. That’s not a message educational institutions should be sending.

Even if it is only for five hours of the school day, there is no point trying to turn the clock back. The way forward is not to say no, but to teach when and how.