N.Y.C. Schools Take Hard Line on Cellphones
Parents, advocates say district's rules ignore safety concerns.
New York City’s ban on cellphones in public schools is 18 years old, but a recent step-up in enforcement has caught thousands of the mobile devices in its dragnet, sparking outrage among families who consider the phones a lifeline.
The mayor and the schools chancellor argue that cellphones can’t be allowed on school property because they cause a range of problems that distract students from learning. They cite nearly 2,500 disruptive cellphone incidents during this past school year—and that doesn’t count the 3,000-plus phones collected at school doorways in an April-to-June crackdown.
Local civil rights groups and city and state lawmakers are mobilizing to file lawsuits or pass legislation loosening the ban, one of the strictest in the country. Among the nation’s largest districts, only two others—Detroit and Philadelphia—prohibit student cellphones on school property. Most allow students to bring them, but require them to be turned...
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