Court Upholds Cell Phone Ban in NYC Schools

May 05, 2008 05:15 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
An appellate court has ruled that New York City can prohibit cell phones on school grounds, a move some say puts students at risk.

30-Second Summary

New York Supreme Court Judge Angela M. Mazzarelli ruled on April 22 that the New York City Department of Education is justified in banning cell phones, upsetting both students and parents.

Since instituting the ban in September 2005, the city has been battling parents who argue that cell phones are a vital way of staying in touch with children, especially in emergency situations.

Although Judge Mazzarelli said the court was “not unsympathetic” to the safety concerns of parents, she also wrote that adults are partly to blame for the devices’ disruptive potential. “If adults cannot be fully trusted to practice proper cell phone etiquette, then neither can children,” reads Mazzarelli’s ruling.

Pennsylvania teacher Kristopher Kaufman echoes the judge’s sentiments, writing that “students are often easily distracted as it is, and a cell phone going off in a classroom can end the learning process as effectively as any fire drill.”

However, Seattle history teacher Richard Mollette writes that the mere ubiquity of the devices makes banning them a losing battle. Instead, he makes students put them on vibrate, and “if it rings during class, the student must surrender the phone and I get to answer it.”

Gotham parents, with the support of the teacher’s union and the City Council, have vowed to continue fighting the ban, which lawyer Norman Siegel calls “unconstitutional and illegal.”

Headline Links: Judge OKs school cell phone ban

Background: No ‘Constitutional Right to Bear Cell Phones’

Reactions: Parents and students decry ruling

Opinion & Analysis: Should cell phones be banned?

Related Topics: The ring tone teachers can’t hear and cell phone hazards


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