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When Olivia Lara-Gresty saw the metal detectors at the entrance of Middle School 54 on the Upper West Side, she turned around and ran home to ditch her contraband before joining her sixth-grade class.
“You’re welcome to bring the cellphone to the school itself. We don’t want to ban it outright from the premises so students can’t use it as a tool for safety when they’re walking to and from school,” said trustee Josh Matlow.
Every day, more than 93,000 New York City school children must pass through a gauntlet of metal detectors, bag searches and pat downs administered by police personnel who are inadequately trained, insufficiently supervised and often belligerent, aggressive and disrespectful. This burden weighs most heavily on the city’s most vulnerable children, who are disproportionately poor, Black and Latino.
So let’s review. What does this teach those kids? First, it teaches them that they don’t deserve to be empowered with technology the same way adults are. Second, that the tools that adults use all the time in their everyday lives to communicate are not relevant to their own communication needs. Third, that they can’t be trusted (or taught, for that matter) to use phones appropriately in school.
From a Toronto School Trustee…
Therefore, be it resolved:
(a) That all schools include provisions in their codes of conduct to ensure that all personal communication devices will be powered off and stored out of view during an instructional class and other areas in the school, unless otherwise authorized by the principal;
Carmen Colon, a divorced mother raising three sons in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, considers herself a law-abiding citizen. But New York City’s ban on students carrying cellphones in the schools is one rule she will not abide by, she said yesterday.
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
When word spread of an airliner crashing into the Pentagon, just 14 miles away, the phones began appearing everywhere. “The reality was that many kids are carrying around phones, and carrying them around responsibly,” Monday said.
a special proceeding against the New York City Department of Education
The cell phone ban has caused enormous disruption in the education of New York City’s children — distracting them and their teachers from the business of learning, putting them in frequent confrontations with police personnel, and eating up class time. It’s time for the mayor and the Department of Education to revisit this ill-advised, counterproductive, and inflexible rule.
“The majority of people are fed up with the proliferation of chatter,” says Reed, “and I feel like somebody needs to legislate etiquette, or just help New Yorkers get some peace of mind.”
After the metal detectors, scanning wands, and armies of security personnel were introduced to Clinton students in September 2005, the lines at the East side of the building extended halfway down the block to Bronx Science, one of the City’s top 5 most prestigious public high schools. The two schools occupy opposite ends of the spectrum of high school surveillance/security/cell phone ban policy. Asked what he thought about Mayor Bloomberg’s and Chancellor Klein’s newly imposed cell phone ban, Lolo flatly stated, “It’s very obvious they’re singling out minority schools. Bronx Science is on the same block as our school and they don’t have metal detectors and their kids can bring whatever they want.”