We the people: Return of cell phones to schools not necessarily “reform”

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”

We the people must be persistent like the river, and our leaders must be less like the rock, in order to get good things accomplished. The NYC DOE shelved its policy banning cellular telephones in schools although students with a need to be in contact with their family always could get special permission to have a cell phone in school.

Mayor de Blasio eliminated the ban and now students are free to bring the devices to school. The interim post-ban regulations state that “students may bring cell phones, computing devices and portable music and entertainment systems to school, but they may not be turned on or used” during school hours. Really?

Mayor de Blasio said that the “reform” has been “a long time coming.” Many parents complained about the ban since they could not contact their children during school hours or after school because they left their devices at home. However, near many schools entrepreneurs in vans let kids “park” their devices during school hours for $1.

How did generations of students learn or survive without access to these devices? In Brooklyn, a high school freshman took advantage of the change to take an up‑skirt photo of a female teacher for some Facebook fun. This wasn’t the communication the mayor had in mind when he panned the ban.

The John Dewey H.S. student secretly took the photo with a smart phone and posted it on social media. The teacher stated that she felt violated by the student’s action.

The New York Post reported that the young lad’s mother stood by her son and blamed the incident on the teacher’s choice of attire. “The teacher was dressed inappropriately,” she told reporters. I guess if her son attacked the teacher, she “asked for it.” Maybe it was the school’s fault for failing to explain that the device was supposed to be turned off during school hours.

These advanced communication devices shouldn’t be in schools distracting students and encouraging inappropriate behavior. It is only a matter of time before they will be used to coordinate and record criminal acts in and around schools.

Chancellor Fariña stated that the responsibility is in the hands of the students. Maybe adults should have the responsibility and determine that the potential for problems with cell phones in schools outweighs possible benefits.

According to some reports, homicides in New York City are on the rise, subway delays are on the rise and MTA fares are set to rise soon, as well. This is a terrible trifecta for a city dependent on tourism activity and where workers who cannot afford to live in Manhattan must take mass transit into New York City.

Police Commissioner Bratton is asking for more cops and City Hall seems ready to accommodate. This will not eliminate the problems caused by the anti- police environment created by City Hall that makes cops hesitant to act or fearful that City Hall may condemn actions they take because they could turn out bad. We do not want a police department that avoids confrontations that could lead to lawsuits because it will assure increased confrontations between the public and criminals.


It seems like Mr. de Blasio does not believe that the crackdown on quality-of-life crimes initiated by Mayor Giuliani had any relationship with the incredible reduction in criminal activity that transformed New York City from a “Death Wish” movie set into the safest big city in America.

If a “soft” position on criminality leads to more crime, that will not be the full responsibility of Mr. de Blasio. The people of New York City have to decide if we are willing to go back to the days of graffiti and omnipresent street crime.

If we cannot make our voices heard, we must persevere and take whatever action necessary to assure that our metropolis will remain a safe city. Not every regulation or policy is an impermissible encroachment on individual civil rights and it is possible to have a society with sensible regulations balanced against the reasonable protection of civil rights.

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