TDSB considering TVs for 70 schools

Critics say high school students don’t need any more distractions.

But 70 Toronto District School Board high schools may soon have large, new television screens in their halls. The plan is one the board is set to consider this month and has already tested in four schools.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Kasim Sarkan, father to two boys attending Sir Robert L. Borden Business and Technical Institute. “It distracts [students] too much.”

The school already has one television in the lounge area near the cafeteria, he said.

“[Students] don’t need any more TVs,” Sarkan said.

As was the the case in the four school’s that piloted the program, the screens would be used to show student work, school announcements, exam information and security alerts, according to a TDSB report.

Melanie Davis, an educational assistant at Borden, said she thinks the TVs are a good idea.

“If the students are watching anything with information, that is a benefit,” she said.

No more that 30 per cent of screen time will be set aside for advertising, which the TDSB report says will come from non-commercial sponsors. Ads shown in the four pilot schools included content from the Milk Marketing Board, post-secondary institutions, government and media sources, the report said.

Grade 10 student Imran Motara said the effect of the televisions would depend on the student.

“If they are the studying type, they would want it to be quiet,” he said. “If they are the bad type, they would want to get out and watch it.”