New Call For Change In NYC School Cell Phone Policy

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Should students in New York City schools be allowed to have cell phones?  That’s the question some are asking amid a new call for a change in the citywide policy.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Story

Regardless of the fact that there is citywide ban on them, at Stuyvesant High School, one student said, “Of course everyone has them. [They] just keep them away.”

However, despite that student’s comments, school officials apparently are not blind to what is going on.

“There was a surprise screening of all the kids. We had to walk through metal detectors and they took everybody’s cell phone,” the student told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.

That has happened a few times recently on Staten Island and Community Education Council 31 president Sam Pirozzolo is pushing the city to rethink its policy.

EXTRA: Read The Community Education Council Proposal (PDF)

“This is ridiculous, to bring everything to a grinding halt, to lose the opportunity for students to have breakfast, to lose a class or one or two periods of instructional time,” said Pirozzolo.

He wants the city to allow phones so the students can stay safe, especially on commutes that can often involve crossing through dangerous areas.

This would require the okay from an Education Department panel.

“People need cell phones to survive in the city,” said one student.

Do you think students should be allowed to have cell phones in schools? Sound off in the comments section below!

  • John

    Bring ’em in school AND teach them to use the phones for academic purposes. Many other educational system have already figured this out. About time America does too. Lead by example here. Tell them to turn it on and start texting with scientists, video chatting with authors, and tweeting astronauts. It is a swiss army knife of communication and reference tools and educators need to get on board and show students how to use these tools and devices. Anything else is failing to prepare students for their world ahead, not our past.

  • Superintendent

    After 40 years in education starting as a kindergarten teacher and about to retire as a superintendent, the issue of cell phones is really about ‘power’. It’s like baning hats in schools. How stupid is that? The rule in every district I led was that kids could have cell phones but they needed to be put away during classes. It’s really simple and was very effective over the years. As educators we need to focus more on what students are learning rather than trying to show them who is boss. I worked as a superintendent in large urban districts, rich suburban districts, and in small, poor rural districts and in every case when schools focus on student learning rather that who is the boss, kids are engaged and learn. If some student wants to walk down the hallway with his/her hat on backwards who really cares? We seem to lose sight of the goal of education when we start worrying about who has the power over whom.

  • bkparent

    Of course the kids should be allowed to carry their phones, but during school they have to be turned off and out of sight. For those of us with children commuting long distances, life is stressful enough already. Please don’t tell me about the good old days when no one had phones. Those days are gone, and in 2011 parents need to be able to reach their kids in an emergency.

    And by the way, telling parents to call the school office to reach their child shows a total lack of understanding of what it is like to try to communicate with a public school in NYC. On a good day, someone MIGHT pick up the phone. They MIGHT have a clue who your kid is, and where. In an emergency, there is no way the school would be willing to get a message to an individual child.

  • Angela Peralta

    I do not think phone use should be allowed in school at all. That, however, does not mean that the students should not be able to have a phone in their backpacks as long as it’s turned off. My daughter has a long commute due to the arbitrary termination of yellow bus service, and, I need to be able to stay in touch with her to know when to pick her up at the bus stop. Last time I checked, public phones are no longer an option since there aren’t any!

  • Nicole Jeanine

    Let’s get a few things straight…this “need” to have a cell phone in school that everyone keeps talking about and these “emergencies” everyone is so worried about are a farce! I’ve been teaching for nearly 10 years an in that time I’ve worked in 3 different schools none of which had a functioning library. Not a single parent or student ever had a problem with that but once you tell families and students they can’t have their cell phones in class everyone is up in arms?!?!? In my current school the no cell phone rule is loosely enforced. That being said I see cell phone use in school and in class regularly but I have yet to see any one of my students use their cell phones for anything but tweeting, facebooking, texting or gossiping. Give me a real reason to have a cell phone in school and you have an argument but this nonsense about emergencies is ridiculous. You do realize we had emergencies when we were young too right? And you do realize that schools are equipped with working telephones right? So where is the need for a cell phone coming from? What is this big emergency we are all clutching onto our phones for and how is our phone going to protect us from these looming threats? As a culture, we need to seriously reprioritize.

    • John

      Funny thing is…I could show you how to put all that texting, tweeting and facebooking to good academic use in your class. As an educator, you should be helping to figure out how students and teachers can use one of the most powerful devices put into human hands for academic purposes. They are already doing it in Singapore, S. Korea, Finland and elsewhere where they have figured out that students walking around with pocket computers is a great thing, not a bad thing.

  • R

    As a former teacher. I never had a problem with students having cells phones in school. My policy, in spite of the idiotic DOE rules was -no cell phone use in my class room what so ever. If you use your phone I keep it until the end of the day. Once a student leaves school they have the right to be able to communicate with parents and visa versa ,which makes the phone necessary

  • Lyricaldove

    I think the policy of no cell phones for students is a good one. Many students who bring cell phones to school leave phones on, answer them in class, and text. Such behavior is disruptive to learning.

    There are phones in the school if parents need to reach their children. 10th Grade Parent, what part of the Constitution gives students the right to have a cell phone in school?

    • Trudi Rosenblum

      The reason they need cellphones is not so parents can call them while they’re in school – it’s so that they can call the parent AFTER school. Many kids, especially in high school, are travelling long distance to and from school, by subway, walking through neighborhoods that might not be the safest. As a parent, you can bet I want my child to be able to contact me in case of emergency or to tell me to come pick them up.

      After 9./11, EVERYONE should understand that parents NEED to be able to reach their kids. If your child goes to school in Manhattan, and you live in an outer borough, and God forbid an emergency occurs in Manhattan, you HAVE to be able to contact your child immediately.

  • Michele

    I definitely think they should be allowed to bring cell phones. My children walk to and from school, sometimes later in the day due to after school activities. The teachers are allowed their cell phones in school AND be ON them in school. The children should be able to bring them and have them shut off. If the child is caught with it on it should be taken away and the parent should have to come and claim it.

  • 10th Grade Parent

    This is a no brainer. Of COURSE they should be allowed to have cell phones. How can the Board of Ed say that students can attend schools far away, but cannot have a cell phone. It doesn’t sound constitutional to me. It is also a SAFETY issue, but I guess the Board of Ed doesn’t care about that.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live