NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is at the center of another controversy, though this one is much more tame than the one playing out with the NYPD. Today, Mayor de Blasio lifted a policy that dated back to the Bloomberg era in New York, forbidding students from having their cell phones at school.
— HowardFreeman (@meadonmanhattan) January 7, 2015
The Parents Union in NYC has been advocating for lifting the ban for years. Mona Davis, union President, told AM New York the following.
“We are glad the Mayor has embraced the perspective of parents, one that we have been championing for years. As parents, we will feel more comfortable knowing we can keep in contact with our children while they are commuting to school. Moreover, we are glad this unfair policy will be abolished, since it primarily disenfranchised students in communities of color.”
Each school will have the opportunity to craft a policy that will best fit its needs. Some suggestions include having students store their phones in a designated place, such as backpacks, only using phones in designated areas, and having teachers allow phone use in classrooms for educational purposes. Some educators are expressing concern about the policy changing, fearing that it will lead to cyber bullying and cheating, but many students point out that the rules are already skirted or broken on a regular basis anyway. United Federation of Teachers president Mike Mulgrew told the Wall Street Journal the following.
“… the union has long advocated that schools be free to make their own decisions about how cellphones can be used, while ensuring that student phone use doesn’t get in the way of instruction.”
The Wall Street Journal also reported that if a school does not implement a different policy, the default will be that students may bring their phones into the school, but they must be kept in backpacks and silenced throughout the day.
— Tam Tran (@t4mtrum) January 7, 2015
The equality issue comes down to how students in poorer areas are more likely to have metal detectors at school, making it more likely that their phone will be confiscated, or that they will have to pay to store their phone at a nearby business. In more wealthy communities, which tend to have a higher percentage of white students, this is less of an issue, according to the Wall Street Journal.
[Image from Teachhub]