NYC to lift ban on student cellphones in schools

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NEW YORK (AP/PIX11) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a lift on a longtime ban that prevented students from having cellphones in New York City public schools.

De Blasio announce the proposed policy change Wednesday afternoon in a news conference at a Brooklyn school.

The existing rule requires cellphones and electronic devices like iPads to be left at home.

The ban was put in place by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It has never been enforced consistently.

De Blasio promised to end the ban during his 2013 mayoral campaign.

“Parents should be able to call or text their kids,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “That’s something Chirlane and I felt ourselves when Chiara took the subway to high school in another borough each day, and we know it’s a sentiment parents across this city share. Lifting the ban respects families, and it will end the unequal enforcement that has penalized students at so many high-needs schools. We are giving educators the tools and the flexibility to make this change responsibly.”

At schools without metal detectors, many students bring phones and keep them stowed in their backpacks.

But most schools with metal detectors enforce the ban. Some students pay $1 a day to store their phones in a van or at a local business.

According to a release, the new changes would remove cell phones and electronic communication devices from the list of banned items in schools.

In the coming weeks, schools will receive guidance on how to create an appropriate use policy. Among the options are:

• Store mobile devices in backpacks or a designated location during the school day
• Allow mobile devices to be used during lunch or in designated areas only
• Allow mobile devices for instructional purposes in some or all classrooms

The reform would lift the ban and go into effect in all schools March 2 if approved by the Panel for Educational Policy in February.

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