Weyburn trustee raises concerns of vaping, cell phone use

Weyburn trustee Brandon Tichkowsky brought up concerns in a couple of areas at the Southeast Cornerstone School Division board meeting on Wednesday, including vaping and the use of cell phones at school.

He had attended the annual meeting for the School-Community Council in Weyburn, and he noted that parents are very concerned about vaping.

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“There’s not a lot of information out there for parents, and there’s a lot of concern around it,” he said.

Some SCC members want to bring more attention to the issue, with writing letters and putting pressure on health officials for better information to be made available for parents and for students.

“It needs to be in the public eye more and more,” said Tichkowsky.

On the issue of cell phone use in schools, he asked if the school division should do a survey to find out what people think of cell phone use in the classroom.

“I think they provide a great opportunity for learning in classrooms, to do some great things, but they’re also very distracting when not used properly,” he said.

Education director Lynn Little pointed out that currently each school sets their own cell phone policies, and each teacher has their own way to deal with them, such as collecting them in a box at the door or asking students to leave them in their lockers.

“We could raise it at the administrative level, but it’s not something that’s come up as a big concern,” said Little.

“It’s very much site-specific,” added Keith Keating, deputy director of education. “There are different needs in different classrooms. It’s based on what individual teachers and individuals classes need.”

Estevan trustee Jim Vermeersch noted that as a post-secondary instructor for Southeast College, the use of cell phones can be a challenge in those classrooms too.

Tichkowsky said that in talking with parents at city schools, there is no consensus, as some would support not allowing cell phones in school, while others are very adamant their child have a cell with them so they can be contacted when needed.