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."