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05-07-06, 05:37 AM #1
Parents Demand NYC Schools End Phone Ban
By NAHAL TOOSI, Associated Press Writer
Fri May 5, 8:03 PM ET
A growing number of parents, teachers and city lawmakers are demanding that the New York City school system reverse its longtime ban on students' cell phones inside school buildings.
So far, the mayor and the schools chancellor aren't heeding the calls.
On Friday, a handful of City Council members and parent activists announced a series of upcoming events aimed at pressuring the education department to change the policy.
City Councilwoman Letitia James said she's introducing a resolution to stop schools from confiscating cell phones, which she said were vital lifelines for parents and their children.
James and parent leaders say they don't object to rules requiring students to turn off their phones during classes, but they want the children to have access to them in emergencies.
"Quite simply, this is a safety issue," James said. "It's a safety issue that we have to resolve."
School officials say they're skeptical that they can count on students to keep the phones off. They also say phone can be used for nefarious purposes — cheating on tests, or taking inappropriate pictures in locker rooms, for instance.
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein told the Daily News on Thursday that possible solutions he's considered, such as special storage lockers, seemed too costly or unworkable. On Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't changing his mind.
"We don't need to have kids go off and look at entertainment and do other things during the classroom," Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show. "And we just don't have the ability to check the phones at the door. So I don't have any easy solutions for parents who want their children to have cell phones before school and after school."
The school system's ban — which opponents say has been only sporadically enforced — traces back to a 1988 policy that prohibits beepers and other communication devices. It has been interpreted to apply to cell phones and other gadgets, including iPods. Both cell phones and iPods are prime targets of theft in schools.
What thrust the cell phone issue into the public sphere recently was the system's decision to send portable metal detectors to random schools on a surprise basis in an effort to lower already falling crime rates. The searches have netted many cell phones.
Parents passionate about the subject invoke memories of major city emergencies, including the Sept. 11 attacks, as proof that cell phones are critical lifelines. Some also frame the issue as a civil rights matter.
"We talk about schools as prisons in this city," said Cecilia Blewer, a parent of two. "They're being acculturated to accept prison conditions. What I want to know is how they're teaching civics with a straight face any more. How would they explain the arbitrary searches and invasion of privacy?"
Several parent organizations, backed by the teachers union president and executive board, have called for some sort of compromise on the policy. The city's public advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, also has urged the mayor and the education department to develop a new policy.
During the Friday press conference, Carmen Colon, president of the Association of New York City Education Councils, showed off a thick petition with some 2,000 signatures of people who wanted a new policy.
For some students, it's an issue of fairness.
"The teachers still use their cell phones and the kids can't," said 15-year-old Ellia Munoz, a ninth-grader in Manhattan. "They don't have to take the cell phones. They can just see them get turned off."
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
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05-07-06, 01:53 PM #2
I'm not a parent, but if I was, I'd be more concerned with my kids getting a good education as opposed to playing Ms. Pac Man on their cell phone during history class.No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.
05-07-06, 03:07 PM #3
Me don't think the cellphones should be used in schools because they will NEVER learn the value of education. I recalled some friends of my daughter's were calling my home all the times...I mean all the times because they would sneak to the restrooms and dialed the numbers even during nutrition and lunch times. Asked if my daughter is home (she was either suspended, ill, or had an appt), I told them, "Whoops, pal, sorry she's not here, she's at an Amazon jungle in South America." They hung up fast. That shut them up.
Still a few continue to call so I talked to their parents..boy, some parents are like, "So, my son/daughter can call her many times if he/she wants to." I decided to turn the ringer off. Phhhft! Cellphones. Some day, they will freak out when they find out how much they're PAYING for their kids' cellphone bills. How did they get the money from??I SEE NEKKED PEOPLE! AIN'T SKEERED!!!!!
05-08-06, 07:43 PM #4
Man you guys are insensitive! How do you expect those kids in NYC to make their after detention crack deals?Why no, that's not a pregnant anaconda in my pants...why do you ask?
05-08-06, 08:47 PM #5Originally Posted by Roses
It's a little insane that people worry about cellphones in an educational setting when students should be more worried about school work. People you have to read to pass school, not talk on your cellphone or play games on it. I agree with the mayor on this one topic.
Kids can have the ability to use a school phone if its an emergency
05-08-06, 09:39 PM #6
I have mixed feelings on this. on one hand, children may need their cellphones for emergencies. on the other, they may be texting eachother during class (the modern version of passing notes). idk. i think that if the teacher has a cell phone, or there is a phone in the classroom, emergency calls can be made from there, right?
05-08-06, 10:24 PM #7
For most of us, if there was an emergency, our parents would call the school's office, and they would get the message to us. True emergencies warrant that. If it's less than that, it doesn't warrant a cell phone call.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
05-09-06, 12:33 AM #8FishTail Guest"We talk about schools as prisons in this city," said Cecilia Blewer, a parent of two. "They're being acculturated to accept prison conditions.
05-10-06, 02:24 AM #9Originally Posted by LongTail
What was she thinkin' about when she views our schools as "prisons?" Hey, Cecilia, so you're letting your kids use the cellphones in public school like it is a shopping mall. Sorry, the school is not a shopping mall to browse around and phone 'amigos' or families during school hours. The school is a place with an education. Duh!I SEE NEKKED PEOPLE! AIN'T SKEERED!!!!!
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