NYC Relents, Lets Kids Bring Phones to School

City to end its ban on devices in schools starting in March
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2015 2:41 PM CST
Cataldo Catholic School seventh-graders take pictures of each other on cell phones in Spokane, Wash.   (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Colin Mulvany)
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(Newser) – New York City's school teachers might want to check themselves into detention because the city is ending its ban on cell-phone-wielding schoolkids, clearing the way for some 1.1 million students to skip into class with iPhones in tow. Well, sort of: As the New York Daily News reports, while Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced he's killing the ban effective March 2, he's leaving the specifics of cell-phone policy up to individual schools to work out themselves. "Parents should be able to call or text their kids—that’s what this comes down to," says de Blasio, who says the ban, long championed by predecessor Michael Bloomberg, was unfairly implemented anyway. "It’s something Chirlane and I felt ourselves when Chiara took the subway to high school in another borough each day."

A school's default policy will be to allow kids to bring devices to school, but stash them during the day. Other options on the table include whether to let kids use them at designated places or times (like lunch), or whether to use devices for texting, er, learning purposes in the classroom. Predictably, de Blasio's move is eliciting some strong support ("Finally, someone saw the light!" crows one civil rights lawyer to the New York Post), mostly from kids and parents, as well as some real concern—mostly from educators. "What are we going to do if illicit content is found on the phones?" asks one teacher, while another principal is more blunt: "It's definitely going to cause problems." (One student used her phone to cheat—with dire results.)

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