Girls gave phone ban positive reception

Story by Noelle Finegan

Tuesday, 12th June, 2018 2:47pm

Girls gave phone ban positive reception

Mary Mulligan

St Joseph's Mercy Navan has a strict no phones policy during school hours and anyone who breaks this will see their phone confiscated for two weeks.

It was brought in about six years ago shortly after Mary Mulligan became principal with Mercy becoming the first school in Navan to introduce a phone ban in school.
"There were a couple of serious incidents with phones- not nice incidents at all that we saw happening with phones. Things were being posted, kind of smart stuff, somebody might find it funny, others didn't and it was beginning to escalate.
"Actually girls themselves would say, they find it a relief, not looking at their phone all day. They feel free in school. We noticed that they were sitting around looking at their phones at lunch time, not talking to one another. You come in now and you hear the chatter through the place at lunch time. 
Mary recalled that they agreed as a staff they would do it, then thought can we do it, and decided to give it a try.
"It proves that when everybody pulls together to try to achieve something, you will achieve it," said Mary who believes the school is a much better place without the phones resulting in much more interaction between the girls and she says the girls also get more involved in extra curricular activities at lunch time.
"Our phone policy is very simple, when students get to the school gates they must turn them off and put them in their school bag. They leave their phone in their secure lockers throughout the school day and are not allowed to take them out during break or lunch time. They cannot turn them on again until they leave the school grounds."
Students caught with their phones during the school day will have their phones confiscated for two weeks and someone from their family must come with them to reclaim it.
"It has worked and the school is better off without it. There are some who will chance it but very few."

Read our full interview with Mary Mulligan in this week's Meath Chronicle out tonight as she reflects on her time as principal of St Joseph's Mercy Secondary School in Navan