Is The Ban On Cell Phones In NYC Schools Really Gone?

Cell phones have been banned for the past decade in New York City schools, but not anymore, at least not legally.

New York City students are rejoicing as the ban on having their cell phones at school has been lifted by Mayor Bill de Blasio. And while some students, out of their excitement over the news, have whipped out their phones as soon as de Blasio made the announcement, there was one caveat they weren’t expecting.

According to the New York Post, despite repealing the ban in January, de Blasio “left principals in charge of deciding the exact rules — and some are essentially leaving the restriction in place.

Mayor de Blasio banned the ban because he felt it was “unfair” and was not “evenly enforced,” according to ABC7. Well, some students are still finding it unfair with their school’s policy on cell phones.

Megan Toro, an 18-year-old student at one of New York City’s many public high schools told the New York Post, “Our policy is they take our phones [at the door] and they hold on to them.”

The Murray Academy senior added, “I agree with the mayor. I agree with the policy to bring in phones. But every school is different. Our policy is they take our phone and they hold on to it. We can’t have our phones in our pockets.”

And students aren’t the only ones who think that being able to use cell phones in schools has gotten a bad rap. Hudson High School’s principal, Nancy Amling, shared with ABC7 why she is happy that some of her students can now bring cell phones to school with them.

“Kids use it as an organizer, planner,” Amling stated. “They can use it for learning and take notes on it.”

So why were cell phones banned in the first place? Many people, including student Eli Berisha, think that they are a “distraction.”

The student told ABC7 that, ”It shouldn’t be an obstacle…When it starts becoming an obstacle, when that happens, put back the ban or make more rules.”

Despite the ban being lifted by the mayor, it appears that some students will still have to face the ban on their cell phones by their principals and administrators.

One New York City teacher, Thomas McDonough, made it very clear to his students that despite the ban on cell phones being lifted, that teachers and administrators will have the final say.

“Right after the decision was announced, students tried to be more brazen about showing their phones in class, claiming they were now allowed to have them, which is against our school policy…I told them this citywide change from the mayor in no way changes what happens in my classroom.”

Educators and administrators are sure to keep an eye on the usage of cell phones within their schools to determine whether a ban needs to be implemented once again. Which leads to the question, are cell phones more of a tool to aid in learning or a distraction in a classroom environment?

[Photo Courtesy of Education Week]