In upholding the city's controversial ban on cell phones in public school, a Manhattan appeals court suggested adults are partially to blame. The opinion included, "If adults cannot be fully trusted to practice proper cell phone etiquette, then neither can children."
The city has been fighting with parents and students for about four years about the right to bear a cell phone. Parents says cell phones are critical for keeping in touch with kids (especially in this post-9/11 world), but school officials argue phones are disruptive (one students fesses to the Post that her phone was taken away twice for texting while in class)and have been used for cheating.
A cell phone ban was found to be constitutional last year, and yesterday the appellate court said, "Certainly, the Department [of Education] has a rational interest in having its teachers and staff devote their time to educating students and not waging 'war' against cellphones."
The court also said, "Nothing about the cell phone policy forbids or prevents parents and their children from communicating with each other before or after school." But where are the cell phones supposed to go during the school day? Norman Siegel, the lawyer representing parents and students, said, "We strongly believe the ban is unconstitutional and illegal, and we will not rest until the prohibition is reversed."
The cell phone ban has led to cell phone baby-sitters, cell phone-less horror stories, and students hiding phones in their clothes. The ban isn't universally enforced; on occasion, the police do haul in lots of contraband devices.