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Poor babies
THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 10:12AM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
How did generations ever make it through school.........without a cell phone?

More parents defending their poor babies.


Dozens of NYC parents e-mail City Hall over cell phone ban
By SARA KUGLER
Associated Press Writer

November 14, 2006, 4:48 PM EST

NEW YORK -- Parents who oppose the cell phone ban in New York's public schools are ranting in e-mails to City Hall that the policy is unreasonable, irresponsible, and hints at "thoughtless fascism."

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum's office solicited parent comments after months of hitting a wall with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, which refuses to budge on the long-standing rule.

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The nation's largest school system has not allowed cell phones for years, but students have carried the gadgets mostly without consequence. When the city began random security checks for weapons last spring, searchers started finding and confiscating hundreds of cell phones _ setting off a charged debate.

"These all-out bans brought on by life's minor inconveniences hint at thoughtless fascism," said one parent in an e-mail.

"These kids are students, not prisoners," wrote another parent, whose daughter travels from their home in Brooklyn to school in Manhattan.

The public advocate solicited comments at the start of November and has received some 100 e-mails, which were delivered to the mayor and given to reporters Tuesday. The public advocate's office blacked out the names of the senders to protect the privacy of the parents.

Bloomberg's spokesman, Stu Loeser, dismissed the e-mails as a "manufactured survey" that is little more than a stunt and said the policy would not change.

The small collection of e-mails tells stories of working parents whose children walk many city blocks to school by themselves, or commute by bus and subway, and need to check in frequently.

"She has already been mugged once and a cell phone is paramount," said one single parent who juggles two jobs and needs to keep tabs on her daughter during her commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan for school.

Bloomberg, a former CEO who detests cell phone interruptions, once said he fantasizes about stomping repeatedly on the disruptive devices.

Bloomberg argues that phones can help students cheat and waste time in class by playing games and sending text messages. On the more sinister side, he believes they help gangs organize criminal activity.

The mayor says schools have many ways to let parents reach their kids during the day if needed. He shrugs at whether it might be more convenient for kids to have phones on their way to and from school, but says the only way to ensure they aren't abused during school hours is to ban them outright.

Gotbaum and some other lawmakers say principals should set their own policies. They site safety as the No. 1 concern.

In the e-mails, some parents pointed to the Sept. 11 disaster and the daily threat of terrorism as the primary reasons why their children need phones.

"The reality is that the NYC subway system is vulnerable to terrorist attack," said the parent of a ninth grader. "When we have so little control over these horrific incidents, and must continue to live our lives (as Mayor Bloomberg suggests we do), something as simple and basic as cell phone contact with our children should not be up for negotiation."

Another wrote: "She and I both feel a little less crazy knowing that if something major happens _ an accident, a crisis _ that she can be in touch with me. If your child went to school blocks from ground zero, you'd know what I'm talking about."
Ultramiler
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 10:39AM - in reply to Poor babies Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
In my high school, many people had cell phones--even though they were banned. The administration had taken on a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It worked: they never disrupted class, but we had them for after school. It isn't too unreasonable for NYC to do the same thing.
Munson
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 10:49AM - in reply to Poor babies Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
My daughter is in a NYC public middle school. The principal has a 'don't ask don't tell' policy, as long as the cell phones are turned off and kept out of sight during the school day. If a teacher hears a phone ring or sees a student holding one, it will be confiscated, and the parent has to come in to retrieve it. I think we're supposed to be tipped off if the Bd of Ed is coming to do a random search.

This non-issue is a way for Ms. Gotbaum, whose office has no real function, to get in the news.
teacher in upstate ny
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 10:49AM - in reply to Poor babies Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I have no problem with students having phones in school...if those phones are turned off. If a parent needs to get in touch with a student (or vice versa), he or she can call the office. In my classroom I have a simple policy: if you use your phone, I take it for the rest of the semester. Not only are cell phones distracting, but with texting as popular as it is, there is a huge potential for cheating.

A cell phone would be useful to have on a long trip to and from school or during emergencies, but during normal school hours there is no need for one.
Over fifty
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 11:01AM - in reply to Poor babies Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Did not have them, did not have cable, the internet, QVC, HSN, nor hybrid vehicles. We did however have our own unecessary war: vietnam.

We don't NEED them. Americans are convinced we have to own all sorts of s*it that is not necessary.
Numb Minds
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 11:11AM - in reply to Poor babies Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
People throw the word 'fascism' around quite recklessly these days. It really disrespects the brave people who fought actual fascism in the 30s and 40s. Fascism was a serious political theory articulated by Mussolini. I'll bet most people who use it today have never even read Mussolini.

It has nothing to do with a school principle in a free country making a decision you don't agree with. When parents can't understand this distinction they have no one to blame but themselves when their kids grow up stupid.

Banning cell phones may be a bad policy, but it has nothing to do with fascism.

By the way, for all its faults, fascism was not thoughtless. It was actually well thought out, just like communism was well thought out by Marx. Mussolini and Marx just happen to be wrong in their fundamental understanding of human nature.
KudzuRunner
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 11:23AM - in reply to Numb Minds Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Today's schoolchildren don't need cellphones in school. They may WANT cellphones in school, and their parents may WANT them to have them. But they don't need them. To pretend that want = need is bad logic.

American schookids have gotten along just fine for several hundred years without having cellphones in class.

Now, I can understand parents who want to check in with their kids on the way to and from school. That doesn't seem like a bad idea.

But cellphones in class? No way. An insane idea. Infinite possibilities for distraction. There is NO pedagogical advantage and every (potential) pedagogical disadvantage.

The answer, clearly, is to find a way to have kids surrender the phones as they walk through the front doors at the beginning of the day and reclaim them as they leave. Long rows of mini lockers or the equivalent. Combine this policy with a no-strikes-and-you're-out policy on cell phones seen or heard in class, the halls, or any other school spaces: confiscation and a $50 fine, payable only by the parents, who must come to school during school hours to pay it.

This policy would address the concerns of both parents and teachers. It would let the kids jabber all they want with friends, parents, BFs and GFs, on the way to and from school, but would force them--gasp!--to actually BE PRESENT during school hours. It would prevent gang activity and "wired" cheating (texting) during school.

What's not to like?
PT Multi
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 11:47AM - in reply to Numb Minds Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Back in the oldin' days we had to read books, think critically, use our imaginations, converse with people in person, and pass notes to each other on pieces of paper. Our parents also used to side with the school whenever we did some dumbassed thing in class and then we also got punished at home.

We didn't read "reality" shows or MySpace because we had lives and actual friends in the physical universe. We weren't as neurotic because we didn't have 500 channels of TV and the Internet to convince us that we were not pretty /thin / cool / hip but could become that way by mindlessly buying crap hocked by celebrities. MTV actually had music on 24/7 rather than whiny rich kids being snarky and rappers with no decorating sense showing off their garish houses. It took us much longer to get bored. We had no idea what kind of training the guys at Central High were doing so we just worked hard and found out who was better on race day.

No knowledge of history. No parenting skills. Nice foundation for the future of our republic - a land where habeas corpus can be trampled upon but no one will care so long as they can have the latest Razor / iPod / Blackberry as use it whenever they like.
Furious Gorge
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 12:04PM - in reply to PT Multi Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

PT Multi wrote:

Back in the oldin' days we had to read books, think critically, use our imaginations, converse with people in person, and pass notes to each other on pieces of paper.


Yeah, and it was a lot harder to cheat, but we still managed it!
pppww
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 12:14PM - in reply to KudzuRunner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

KudzuRunner wrote:

Today's schoolchildren don't need cellphones in school. They may WANT cellphones in school, and their parents may WANT them to have them.






Here is the key point.Whatever the children want, Mommy and Daddy will get it for them, even if they have to go to court.
that guy that did that thing
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 12:14PM - in reply to Poor babies Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
you see, thats why NYC schools suck. What college wants 'those people' in their classes? Mine sure doesn't. I can think of like two places, and even NYU won't take its home grown scum. sad, but true. Even West Virginia picks up its garbage.
AI
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 12:21PM - in reply to KudzuRunner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

KudzuRunner wrote:

Today's schoolchildren don't need cellphones in school. They may WANT cellphones in school, and their parents may WANT them to have them. But they don't need them. To pretend that want = need is bad logic.



I don't need to wear a white t-shirt, but if they passed a law banning me from doing so, I would feel that those responsible for the rule were overstepping their bounds. A rule that prevented people from using cell phones in class would be sensible, but a rule saying you can't have one in your backpack is just stupid. As someone in the article pointed out, these are students, not prisoners. Your solution seems to take the opposite possition.
sadas ads dasd
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 1:46PM - in reply to AI Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
If your child is as dumb as to forgoe a free education to text message someone then they should be able to.

Have them stay home at that. I don't want: sleepers, texters, jerks, and other such people in my classes. And if they don't want to be there...well...go home.
????????
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 2:51PM - in reply to sadas ads dasd Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

sadas ads dasd wrote:

And if they don't want to be there...well...go home.



But it's their "right" to be there if they want.
ENGLAND
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 2:54PM - in reply to ???????? Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
What do you want to be fascist or Communist for? just be English
NewUltrarunner
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 3:10PM - in reply to Poor babies Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
My issue isn't that they ban cell phones, it is that they don't go any further. They should require all children to wear school uniforms (it doesn't have to be anything extreme, hell even blue jeans and plain white shirts would do), transfer money from school administration salaries to teachers' salaries, take the money that Bloomberg uses on his office renovations and try to make public schools look less like prison and more like a place kids would want to be, actually enforce academic standards, require P.E. again (screw all the lawyers that threaten lawsuits....politicians can create an immunity), and do anything else that let's kids be kids in a safe, supportive and (shock of all shocks) educating environment.
Munson
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 3:27PM - in reply to NewUltrarunner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

NewUltrarunner wrote:

My issue isn't that they ban cell phones, it is that they don't go any further. They should require all children to wear school uniforms (it doesn't have to be anything extreme, hell even blue jeans and plain white shirts would do), transfer money from school administration salaries to teachers' salaries, take the money that Bloomberg uses on his office renovations and try to make public schools look less like prison and more like a place kids would want to be, actually enforce academic standards, require P.E. again (screw all the lawyers that threaten lawsuits....politicians can create an immunity), and do anything else that let's kids be kids in a safe, supportive and (shock of all shocks) educating environment.


1) There is a school uniform in NYC public schools. Individual schools, via their PTA, can opt out.

2) Teachers have received two raises in the last year, one for the current contract that replaced one that expired two years ago, and one that goes into effect when the current contract expires next fall.

3) Bloomberg takes a salary of $1/year, uses the subway rather than the motorcades his predecessors prefered, and is a major benefactor of numerous charities including those benefitting the schools.

4) My kids have always had gym class, though not as often as I would prefer.
Winston Smith
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 3:33PM - in reply to AI Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

AI wrote:
I don't need to wear a white t-shirt, but if they passed a law banning me from doing so, I would feel that those responsible for the rule were overstepping their bounds. A rule that prevented people from using cell phones in class would be sensible, but a rule saying you can't have one in your backpack is just stupid. As someone in the article pointed out, these are students, not prisoners. Your solution seems to take the opposite position.


I see where you are going, but remember that while students are not prisoners, there are many exceptions that have to be made in order to ensure the academic environment and other students' safety is met.

If cell phones are becoming a problem in schools, they should be outlawed. I do think there might be a better way, but the power needs to be in the hands of the administration here.

We all know how teens and their phones can be...
apples
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 3:48PM - in reply to Winston Smith Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I have never understood where the authority come from that allows the school to take the phone in the first place or make a rule that prohibits possession of a phone. My kid lost her phone to the school ( a CA school) and they refuse to return it to me, her father. I have to continue to pay for the service even though she does not have the phone any more. (well almost she bought a new one but it took a few months.)
Yanqui
RE: THOUGHTLESS FASCISM IN NY CITY! A question for those over the age of 25 11/15/2006 3:52PM - in reply to apples Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Cell phones are necessary in very limited instances, but basically, they're a public scourge. Nothing is more ridiculous then seeing four people in a car talking on four cell phones rather than to each other. Kids in school have each other to talk to in person...why do they need cell phones?
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