The head of the group representing secondary school principals has said proposed legislation banning mobile phones in schools is not practical and may not be possible to enforce.
Speaking on RTÉ's This Week programme, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) Clive Byrne said that while the bill was well-intentioned and timely, he had concerns about the prescriptive nature of some of the proposals in the legislation.
Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell introduced the Education (Digital Devices in School) Bill 2018 in the Seanad earlier this week.
The bill proposes a code of behaviour that would see standard rules for the use of digital devices apply to schools across the country.
It includes a ban on the use of mobile phones during school hours, and proposals to punish children who breach the ban by confiscating phones.
The measures include a 'three strikes' policy whereby a third breach of the rules would see a phone confiscated for the duration of the school term.
Mr Byrne said most secondary students regarded their phone as an extension of their arm and that it would be problematic for principals to enforce the confiscation of phones.
He said that problems of cyber bullying, gaming addiction, and access to pornography on phones were issues for society to solve, and that teaching children the responsible use of technology was the best way forward.
Mr Byrne said that if a law was not practical to enforce then it was not worthwhile having.
He said a principal or year-head trying to deal with a 17 or 18-year-old who risked having their phone confiscated would cause endless difficulties, and he said he was not sure that principals or deputies would be in a situation to enforce that.