Students in NYC public schools can now bring their cellphones to school without fear of getting caught. The Department of Education officially ended the ban on cell phones — enforced since 2006 — on Monday.
Mayor de Blasio and the Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced in January that the new policy will increase the safety for 1.1 million children by making it easier for parents to stay in touch with students. The Administration also declared it would end the “inequity under the current ban,” since the ban was strictest on students who went to schools with metal detectors, typically in low-income communities. (Students in schools without metal detectors were able to get around the ban more easily.) Some students will now also save $1 a day by not paying a nearby bodega to store phones while in school.
To be clear, lifting the cell phone ban does not mean free rein for students. The Administration laid down restrictions for the reform, including a “Misuse, You Lose it,” policy announced in January.
Principals will consult with School Leadership Teams to develop a cell phone policy. Under the new reform, schools will also have to provide training to prevent cyber-bullying.
Schools that do not develop a policy will be required to follow the default policy, in which students will be asked to keep their cell phones out of sight during the school day, and not use them during exams or emergency drills and exercises. School administrators can confiscate cell phones if students don’t abide by the policy.